On the iPhone 5C and 5S

Apple's iPhone 5S Lineup

The 5C is an interesting product launch for Apple. It’s clear that this phone is not being sold as a low-cost iPhone, but rather a pseudo-replacement for the iPhone 5, repackaged. This gives Apple a broader and clearer product line and doesn’t force them into a “cheap” phone position. The idea of repurposing similar hardware in a new body (or vice-versa) has been done by Blackberry before, and it’s a smart move. You might say that Apple should have released a lower cost model, and that may be missing the point.

I think we’ll look back at this phone lineup launch as a groundbreaking move by Apple.

What we won’t look back and see, is Apple expanding iPhone sales into emerging markets. To think that anyone in a poor country has to give up a lifetime of savings to get a current 5C; I don’t expect it to sell like a $350, unsubsidized iPhone might [1].

I like 5S’s TouchID fingerprint scanner for the security benefits [2], but I think one of lesser-hyped bonuses is the speed of accessing the phone. Sometimes seconds count when you want to take that cool picture, and getting to the app you need without having to look at the phone or type a clunky password is going to put this phone ahead of others in usability.

As for the 64-bit A7 system on a chip? I’ll bet users will perceive a performance boost [3], but I’m not so sure there is any technical reason to see such a CPU on a RAM-restricted mobile device. I’m not the only one who thinks this. Expect to see memory increases on newer generations that might justify this move. Maybe it’s true this is a sort of foreshadowing for Apple’s computer line.

I will┬ábe part of the mad rush to get the gold iPhone 5S. Why? It’s not exactly because I like the way it looks. I think the gold iPhone 5S is going to be the key differentiating quality in this generation of iPhones. It may not hold it’s value any better than other 5S’s, but I’m betting it will be a rarer and more desired phone once it’s time to re-sell.

1. Apple would have sold me two 5C’s this year if they had positioned it in a lower bracket. Overall, a huge missed opportunity for them.
2. Yea, someone will probably figure out how to defeat the scanner with play-doh or silly putty. Perhaps we’ll soon see a C.S.I. dramatization of a person’s finger found and an iPhone 5S used somehow to identify him.
3. The marketing tells people they will, anyway