The Rise and Fall of the iPhone 5c: Apple’s Mid-Range Misstep

While it’s undeniable that Apple has achieved remarkable success in the tech industry, it’s equally important to acknowledge instances where the company faced setbacks and controversies. In this article, we delve into the history of the iPhone 5c, a device that has earned a reputation as one of Apple’s most contentious and criticized products. Join us as we explore the details of this intriguing chapter in Apple’s history.

Heir to the iPhone 5

iPhone 15 pro

The iPhone 5c was positioned as the direct successor to the iPhone 5, albeit with a few exterior design changes. However, under the hood, it retained nearly identical hardware, with a slightly smaller battery. The device featured the same processor, cameras, and screen as the iPhone 5. Despite these similarities, the iPhone 5c faced a challenging journey and was eventually discontinued after just a year. This marked the end of Apple’s experimentation with the “C” designation for iPhones.

The Plastic Construction:

One of the most significant drawbacks of the iPhone 5c was its choice of construction materials. Unlike previous iPhones that predominantly used premium materials, the iPhone 5c introduced polycarbonate plastic to Apple’s lineup. Surprisingly, this decision triggered extensive criticism, even though many other smartphone manufacturers utilized plastic in their devices. Apple’s use of polycarbonate was an attempt to reduce production costs, which inadvertently encouraged competitors to follow suit.

This move prompted consumers, without substantial evidence or arguments, to perceive the iPhone 5c as an inferior device solely due to its plastic build, equating it with a lower-quality phone. Despite Apple’s assertions about the device’s hidden potential, sales failed to meet expectations.

Iphone 5c

Screen Size and Unlock Mechanism:

The iPhone 5c featured a four-inch display, a screen size that wasn’t widely favored among Cupertino’s audience. Apple initially introduced this screen size with the iPhone 5 and 5c but abandoned it until the launch of the first-generation iPhone SE. Realizing the demand for larger screens, Apple subsequently introduced the iPhone 6 Plus, featuring a 5.5-inch display, which became a best-seller for the company.

Another distinctive aspect of the iPhone 5c was its unlock mechanism. Unlike the iPhone 5s, which introduced Touch ID for the first time, the iPhone 5c required users to enter a passcode to unlock the device. This omission of Touch ID was a contentious point for many consumers who favored the technological advancements of the iPhone 5s.

An Attempt at the Mid-Range Market:

With the release of the iPhone 5c, Apple aimed to penetrate the mid-range smartphone market. Before its official launch, the industry was abuzz with rumors, anticipating that Apple’s mid-range offering would be priced competitively, possibly around 300 to 400 euros. However, when the device was unveiled, its starting price was set at 599 euros for the base configuration with 16 GB of storage.

Eight years later, this launch price still appears relatively high, especially considering that it was positioned as a mid-range device. This pricing, combined with the plastic construction and smaller screen, proved to be a challenging combination, resulting in sales that were neither exceptional nor abysmal. Ultimately, Apple decided not to pursue a second-generation iPhone 5c.

In today’s market, with the same budget, consumers can acquire more advanced iPhones like the iPhone 13 or 12, underscoring the unique challenges and legacy of the iPhone 5c in Apple’s product lineup.