Monday, 23 September 2013

iPhone 5c Lust!

Unfortunately, I believed the rumours leading up to the Apple launch event on 10th September 2013 which were suggesting that the new colourful iPhone would be a "cheap" device, maybe even so cheap that it would be within reach of the those in developing countries.

As a mobile enthusiast, if you want to be able to comment on the industry, be able to genuinely make comparative commentary between devices and ecosystems, you simply have to have an iPhone. That or have very convenient access to one, and with my better half moving from iPhone to Android, that's left me needing one of my own. Whilst not the biggest by market share any more, the iPhone is still arguably the single most important device, if not the most important ecosystem, and every product announcement, price change or hardware glitch becomes mainstream news.

Apple's service of keeping older handsets eligible for newer operating systems is very commendable, something which is much easier to maintain when you don't have the disconnect between one company writing the operating system source code, and another company making the hardware and customising the operating system almost to their heart's content. Android phones in particular can find themselves stranded on very old versions where a manufacturer has seemingly lost interest. Yet it is only this year that the iPhone 3GS, released in 2009, has fallen off the support train being the newest device not to have iOS 7. This however means that the old 3GS I can see in the corner of the room, next to a bunch of charging cables and a couple of old Android phones, is no longer good enough for that job of being a relevant comparison device.

So with the rumours of the 5c being such a cheap device, I was quite excited at the thought of being able to buy an iPhone again. It's not feasible to buy full-priced, or even second-hand iPhones of the latest generation or two when you are using them as comparison devices, they're simply too expensive (although they do hold value very well of course). I reckon anything up to £350 at a push and I was in, and the fact that they were coloured only made me lust more. 

I'd already been eyeing up the HTC One Mini in blue, and I'm glad that manufacturers have started building colourful devices again. The multi-colour approach has in recent years been most utilised by Nokia in the Lumia range, and I really hope they've sparked all the manufacturers to think again about colour, and take us away from the land of black rectangles!

Needless to say I was of course then disappointed when Apple announced that the iPhone 5c would start at £479, completely out of the price range for a device used mainly for comparison purposes. Not only that but as I buy all my devices SIM free, it is probably too expensive even to buy as a main device, and I'm not even sure I could live with iOS on my main device even if I thought I could justify the cost.

We now know that the iPhone 5c was never going to be a budget device, and actually sits nicely between the 4S and 5s (yes, one is upper case and the other lower...) in the Apple range, allowing Apple to drop the iPhone 5, and presumably make a lot more margin on each 5c they sell, boosting profitability, whilst adding new marketability and product differentiation in the 5c with its coloured casing. Very smart move as ever from Apple, but a shame for me and anyone else who were excited to pick up a shiny new colourful budget iPhone!