The Apple iPhone 5C: How it could impact the smartphone space

By Swapnil Mathur | Published on 09 Sep 2013

With the iPhone event just a day away, we look at how a potential budget iPhone could change things in the Indian market.

The Apple iPhone 5C: How it could impact the smartphone space

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Apple has had a long standing tradition of not only making great products, but also being rather stuck up about pricing and the concept of “budget.” However with a new CEO at the helms, the company has slowly and steadily heading into a new direction, with iOS7 being the first to get the new-wave treatment. Rumours have been suggesting that the iPhone is next up to be subject to the new philosophy, in the form of the iPhone 5C, a cheaper, budget option for those who can’t afford a full-fledged iPhone. Assuming the rumours are true, let’s take a look at the sort of impact a budget iPhone could have on our market.

iPhone 5C – Who is it For

The iPhone 5C is being rumoured to be the cheaper version of the full-fledged iPhone. Since Apple has had a tough time competing with the cheaper, but equally competent devices from other manufacturers, it only makes sense for Apple to have a product that could help them gain the advantage in price sensitive markets like India and China. The hardware could be slightly dumbed down version of the iPhone 5, or slightly upgraded version of the iPhone 4S, but regardless of what it is, Apple will make sure it would splendidly with the upcoming iOS 7.

iPhone 5C- Where does it Fit

The first question obviously will be, IF the phone was launched, which segment would it fit into? Apple could price it as low at the price point of the iPhone 4S, drop the iPhone 4S to where the iPhone 4 sits, while the iPhone 4 gets phased out for good. Given that the iPhone 4S sells for roughly Rs. 38500 for the 16GB model (roughly $600), and the iPhone 4 for Rs. 26,500 for the 8 GB model, the iPhone 5C would ideally find itself seated somewhere in between the two price points.

iPhone 5C – Taking care of the Competition

An iPhone for sub 35K could potentially eat out a large chunk of the market share that phones in this price bracket enjoy. Phones like the Samsung S3, Nokia Lumia 920, the Xperia Z and even the HTC One X could be facing some serious losses in market share. The fact is, the reason many people don’t get an iPhone at the moment is because the latest is too expensive to purchase (for many), and people don’t feel comfortable shelling out 35K for a phone that’s technically 2 years old. This is where the iPhone 5C would shine, combining its “low price tag” with the “new phone” persona, with the Apple brand driving it to success.

iPhone 5C – The Ripple Effect

If the iPhone 5C does get introduced for roughly Rs. 35,000, then there is no doubt the other phones in this segment would struggle to keep their market shares intact. This struggle for dominance could result in the prices of most of these phones dropping by a few thousand rupees. While a massive price reduction should not be expected, you could see yourself getting more freebies with every purchase. Manufacturers could also offer you better rates for trade-ins. Bottom-line remains that in order to ensure steady sales, other manufacturers are going to have to offer something extra, which ends up benefitting nobody else, but the consumer.

While the jury is still out on whether there will REALLY be an iPhone 5C, what is undisputable is the impact it would have on the current Indian cellphone market. It would cut into the market share of many a Samsungs and HTCs and also force manufacturers to offer more value addition at the same price point. However, this is all conjecture until Tim Cook takes the stage tomorrow at Apple’s iPhone event and unveils the next lineup of iPhone(s). 

Swapnil Mathur

Digit's resident camera nerd, (un)official product photographer and the Reviews Editor


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