They're colored like candy, and now it seems Apple will package its new "budget" iPhone 5C like treats to create an immediate impact on price-sensitive buyers and for the gift market. Why not ship it with Candy Crush for the whole works? Just don't expect candy pricing.
The Leaky End Beckons
Apple voyeurs have seen the design process of the company's soon to be announced products drip feed in photo form across Asian websites. From early tiny component parts, bits of shell, casing and associated fixings, and more recently all together in the final form. Were they real, or just knock-off clones was the leading question, but as finality approaches, skepticism has been replaced with acceptance, way ahead of the official release.
The last stroke, just a week before its likely unveiling on 10 September is the final package in a range of colors, all sealed for delivery to millions of users. Looking rather like oversize M&Ms, they're pretty to similar to how Apple used to package its skinny iPod devices, with the gadget on top, peering out of a bubble of plastic. With that iPhone 5C logo emblazoned on the side, they are miles from the premium packaging of previous models but do a good job of getting the bright new phone out in view.
But these aren't candies, with the exact price point yet to be known but estimates range from US$300 to $399. That's still a lot of money for a not top-of-the-line device and we wait to see how successful it will be, with the champagne iPhone 5S at the top of the list for most gadget-buyers. Anyone expecting Apple to go cheaper with these, despite the bright endearing colors is in for a shock.
Splits and Battles Across Regions and Markets
Of course, Apple could limit cannibalisation of its devices by shipping the majority of the 5C models to emerging or weaker markets, and it has the new trade-in program for old models to make acquiring the new top iPhone 5S less expensive in America. But the 5C remains a big gamble for Apple in a world full of cheap but powerful Android devices and inevitable pressure on top prices as the telcos try to increase their share of the immense profit Apple will reap.
Yes, it will sell millions, but will it continue to sell once mom-and-pop Apple families buy them for their kids, and the die-hard wannabes around the globe have picked up theirs? Has Apple correctly predicted a sweet spot in the market, and does its brand still carry the same weight to attract buyers that have avoided Apple so far?
We should know shortly after the September 20 launch date that the world (and telco stores and support departments) are gravitating too, but also in the months after that when the longer tail sales figures come in. Will the world's lower-price Android-consuming users switch and upgrade? Will the once die-hard BlackBerry users cave in and move on? Those will be a few of the questions to focus on as the numbers come in.