Low Cost iPhone this year – Why Now?

A few years ago, if you heard of something new coming, you’d either see it in a magazine or newspaper, or hear it from a friend due to chinese whispers.

Nowadays, you just need to go onto a tech site, or when it seems to trend, on Twitter, to see that there’s a good chance that the new iPhone this year will in fact be two new iPhones.

The first iPhone, if history repeats, will be the 5S, a mild but justifiable improvement on the 5, possibly slightly thinner, possibly better battery, but a strong possibility the camera will be improved with a dual LED flash.

As with previous years, the current model about to be replaced by a newer model would switch to being free on a much lower tariff with lower storage, and would only be in one colour.

This year, the second new iPhone seems to be targeting this regard, with a new, ‘low-cost’ iPhone that won’t compromise on quality, and will instead be an iPhone 5, with the same 4 inch screen, the same lightening connector, but with a plastic casing much like how it was with the 3G and 3GS, and in multiple colours, similar to how the current-gen iPod Touch is.

But as I read this and begin to accept that it’s going to be a reality on Sept. 10th, the question I wonder is: Why now?

Why introduce this now in 2013?

Why not when the iPhone 5 was released last year?

Why not when the iPhone 4 was released in 2010?

And only a couple of reasons have come up to me:

China & India

Lightening Connector.

1. China & India.

In the past 18 months, there’s been a massive push to China, with ‘Weibo’ being incorporated into Mac and iOS devices, and with much better language support than ever before.

With the iPhone, it’s always been a ‘premium-price’ product, with it only being officially released on China-Mobile last year, and countless of unlocked iPhones be used across China.

Also, it’s only been in black, with it being in a white offering for about two years now.

A lot of people would like better personal preference with it. You see many iPhone cases used that are almost never black or white. Usually with a picture or different colour, or some go that extra step and get theirs painted in another colour.

With this ‘iPhone 5C’, people have a lot more choice for personalisation, and can better fit into customers in China to buy.

This also applies to India. Gold is a popular colour to have, especially with it’s value in current times. There’s reports on the 5S to have a gold variant faintly resembling ‘champagne’, so the premium product could also apply to a country like India.

Also, a large majority of people in these countries don’t want to pay a subsidised price. When I used to work in a phone shop, there would be an ethnic group that would buy the iPhone 4, 3G and etc outright above any other.

They want to be able to use it in another country as well as where their home is, without the hassle of wasting money on a 2 year contract that may have them be across a continent for the majority of that contract length.

Maybe instead of the ‘5C‘ meaning ‘Colour’, maybe a better fit could be ‘China.’

2. Lightening Connector.

With the lightening connector, Apple has a better hold on the accessory market, with it having much more restrictions and an approval process for manufacturers to abide by.

Also, they have to pay a licence fee to even use this connector, which is possibly why I’m still seeing cables with the legacy 30-pin connector more so than with the lightening accessories.

With the new lineup in a month, all the new iPhone line up would have the lightening connector, effectively killing the 30-pin accessory market for new customers. Then with 4S contracts more closer to the end than it was last year when the 5 was introduced, customers in this situation may want to upgrade to the new iPhones next month, therefore the ratio of customers of an iPhone with lightening versus customers of an iPhone with the legacy 30-pin connector would effectively swap, and by the time the eighth-generation iPhone is announced next year, customers with the 30-pin iPhone will be just heading into the minority group.

Two of the reasons why I think the 5C is coming on Sept. 10th, and why this year is the best time, which benefits everyone.

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