New iPhones Confuse Me

So, Apple has announced their new phones and nothing was a surprise after all the leaks on Apple blogs over the last two months. I have to admit to being confused though as I thought the iPhone 5C was going to be the “budget” iPhone.

With a no-contract retail price of $600 for the 16GB version in Canada, I wouldn’t call that budget friendly. I guess, I just can’t help compare budget phone prices to the Google Nexus 4. The Google Nexus 4, which is due for a refresh soon, is currently $250 for the 16GB version without a contract. Or only $150 more than what the iPhone 5C will cost on contract. At $600, it is only $120 less than the new Apple flagship iPhone 5S device (or $100 in difference on contract subsidies). Sure, for some people, that’ll mean the difference between getting the iPhone 5C or not, but it doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.

If I was going to purchase an iPhone, I wouldn’t want to get their “budget” brand for such a small price difference. A great deal of the appeal of an Apple product is the status symbol.

Sure, in a few months, we might see some deeper cuts in the iPhone 5C pricing, and some companies might decide to discount or subsidize the phone more to get it in people’s hands, but at the current prices, I don’t understand who the iPhone 5C is supposed to be for. Had they priced it at $400 off contract or free on a two year plan, I think people would be lining up today to purchase the phone. They could have gotten rid of the iPhone 4S that they have really positioned as their “budget” phone, and simplified their product and manufacturing lines.

As for the iPhone 5S, it does have some interesting features, and other than the gold body coloured device, it seems like a natural progression for the Apple device. I think they’ve created something that’ll remain competitive over the next year or two as they work on the iPhone 6, which I think they’ll just start calling the iPhone, like they have with other products in recent years, as the numbering system just starts getting silly after a certain point.

I don’t see any problems with the iPhone 5S pricing, or most of its features. I think people were hoping for a better camera, and the finger print reader is a bit of a gimmick, but overall, if the battery life and performance are as good as Apple advertised, I think many people using an older iPhone 4 or 4S that were waiting to skip over the original iPhone 5 will be very happy. I think the build quality of the iPhone 5S looks good, and they’ve never really had issues with their screen quality (other than shattering).

Overall, I was hoping for a more interesting announcement. Apple has continued to evolve their platform, but I didn’t feel like they really innovated anything. While they do seem like they have some first mover advantages in processing power, I think much of the market will leapfrog them again this year as they did last year.

Would I buy an iPhone 5C or iPhone 5S? Nope. I would be fine with 99.9% of the device, except the lack of a Swype style keyboard. I can’t do tapping input on a phone all the time. My fingers are fat, and I find it too slow for long content entry. If that isn’t a deal breaker for you, then check out the new phones by Apple.

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