Apple's Next Game Changer

The all new “iPhone 5C”, as some are calling it, could be a real game changer for Apple, not in the way that the iPod, iPhone, or iPad were, but in the way that the original iMac and eMacs were over a decade ago. The game is the same, the players are different.

In the late 90’s Apple lagged behind Microsoft in market share, they were a dying company. Microsoft invest $150 million into Apple to keep the company afloat. Bill Gates appeared overhead while Steve Jobs announced the partnership with Microsoft, like a god looking upon his ungrateful minions.

The situation is similar to the one Apple faces today. While certainly not dying and still one of the richest companies in the world, they have lost their luster along with that market share. They are now playing second fiddle to a company they consider beneath them, two companies if you consider Samsung along with Google.

People still pine for the iPhone, but that clamoring is much quieter than it was even just a couple years ago. The Samsung Galaxy series has a large part to do with that, but mostly, Apple has become a bit complacent. They are less innovative than they used to be. If the rumors are true, the new iPhone 5S will have updated specs and a fingerprint reader. Par for the course. A safe move, if not underwhelming.


The iPhone 5C has a chance to break that thinking as well as gain market share. Many are calling it the “cheap iPhone” because of the plastic casing compared to the “premium” aluminum finish of the standard iPhones, as well as the possible lack of Siri and lower specs. I believe it could a couple different ways. First, the “C” likely stand for Color as it has been shown the iPhone 5C will come in a multitude of colors, much like the iMacs did in the late 90’s. The fact that you can get a colored iPhone may not make much difference to some, but remember the demand for white iPhones when only black was available?

The price point is much lower as well, possibly even free on contract. Apple already has that pricepoint covered with the second to last generation models, such as the iPhone 3GS two years ago and the iPhone 4 for the last year. Main difference being customer will now be able to purchase a brand new, not 2 year old, phone and it will be powerful enough, and colorful enough, to stand with today’s leading smartphones.

The downside to the cheaper iPhone would be lower profit margins as the cheaper variant could cannibalize sales that would normally go to the top tier iPhones. The phone itself may not make much of a difference at all, as the iPhone 4 has been free and hasn’t been accused of cannibalizing iPhone 5 sales that often.

The iPhone 5C may have the biggest impact of any Apple product since the original iPhone launched 6 years ago. It may have absolutely no impact at all, becoming just another in what may become a convoluted product line ala Samsung. Isn’t tech industry speculation fun!?

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