iPhone 5C Rumor Roundup: Here’s What We Expect


For the first time ever, Apple is expected to announce two new iPhones at the media event on Tuesday, September 10: the next generation iPhone, iPhone 5S, and the lower-cost or cheap iPhone.

We take a closer look at what to expect from Apple’s cheap iPhone based on the rumors and leaked parts.

Name

Several photos of the alleged packaging have revealed that Apple plans to call the new lower-cost iPhone “iPhone 5C,” to go with the next generation iPhone, which will most likely be called “iPhone 5S”.

“C” could stand for “Color” as it is expected to be available in multiple colors, or “plastiC” or “polyCarbonate” as the rear shell is most likely going to be made of it, or “China,” or “Cheap” since it is the low-cost iPhone. But “C” for “Color” seems to be most logical option.

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Design

iPhone 5C will come with a plastic casing and a black front panel with rounded edges. It has been speculated that Apple could use a “super-thin plastic casing mixed with glass fiber,” which should make it more durable, thinner and lighter than plastic casing used on other plastic smartphones.

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The plastic casing will still make iPhone 5C marginally thicker and bigger than iPhone 5S, which will come with an aluminum backplate like iPhone 5.

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The scratch test of the leaked iPhone 5C’s rear shell suggests that it is going to be highly scratch resistant.

Photos of the leaked components has also revealed that iPhone 5C will come with pill-shaped plastic volume buttons instead of the circular metal buttons etched with “+” and “-” symbols used in iPhone 5 and iPhone 4S. The power and mute buttons also appear to be made of plastic.

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The leaked iPhone 5C manual has also revealed that the position of the Power button at the top, and the volume and mute buttons along the sides will similar to the iPhone 5.

Ever since Apple launched iPhone 4, the metal bands along the sides have served as the antenna system. It will also be interesting to see the antenna system Apple plans to use in iPhone 5C, and if it has any impact on call quality.

Specs

Rumors indicate that iPhone 5C will come with iPhone 5 internals in a plastic casing, so it is likely to be powered by the same A6 chip with 1GB RAM, and come with 4-inch Retina Display, 8-megapixel rear camera, and 1.2-megapixel FaceTime camera. It is also likely to support 4G LTE networks.

It won’t get iPhone 5S’ features such as the fingerprint sensor or the upgraded camera system which may include a dedicated chip for motion tracking.

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Apple had added support for HD Voice or Wideband audio in iPhone 5, it remains to be seen if Apple will offer these features in the less-expensive iPhone.

Colors

The most talked about feature and possibly the reason why Apple is going to call it iPhone 5C, is because it is going to be available in multiple colors (“C” for Colors).

Photos of the alleged iPhone 5C rear casing suggest it will be available in 5 bright colors: red, blue, yellow, green and white. Reports indicate that iPhone 5C won’t be available in black. Black is apparently reserved for the premium iPhone 5S.

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The leaked packaging and manual of iPhone 5C has revealed that the front panel will be all-black and won’t be come in the same color as the rear casing. It makes sense as the bright colors around the display would be quite distracting.

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Ports

iPhone 5C will come with Lightning connector at the bottom center. The leaked iPhone 5C rear casing has also revealed that the headphone jack will be at the bottom left corner just like iPhone 5.

Packaging

The leaked photos of iPhone 5C has revealed that it will come in a plastic casing just like iPod touch 5. It will also come with color-matched wallpaper stickers on the display. So as you can see in the photo below, the blue iPhone 5C will have a blue colored wallpaper sticker on its display.

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Video

There have been several videos and photos of the leaked iPhone 5C rear casing. Here’s a high-resolution video, which gives a good idea of what the iPhone 5C will look like:

Here’s another video that does a side-by-side comparison of iPhone 5C with iPhone 5, iPhone 3GS and iPod touch 5:

Pricing options

One of the most debated topics about iPhone 5C has been the price.

Some reports have claimed that iPhone 5C will be the new entry-level iPhone with last year’s iPhone 5 taking the mid-range spot, but there have been contradicting reports that have suggested that since iPhone 5C will replace iPhone 5 and take the mid-range spot, and Apple will offer iPhone 4S as the new entry-level iPhone.

There are arguments for both the scenarios. Since iPhone 5C will essentially consist of iPhone 5 internals, it would be difficult to differentiate between an iPhone 5C and the iPhone 5 except for the plastic casing. So it has been speculated that it doesn’t make sense to offer both the iPhone 5C and iPhone 5.

The counter argument is that, since iPhone 4S would be only device in the lineup with 3.5-inch screen and the old 30-pin dock connector, it makes sense for Apple to discontinue it.

Here’s the possible pricing based on the two scenarios:

  • If the iPhone 5C is the new entry-level iPhone, then it would be priced at $450 without a contract or for free with a two-year contract.
  • If the iPhone 5C replaces iPhone 5, then it would be priced at $550 without a contract or for $99 with a two-year contract.

There have been rumors that it could be priced between $300 – $400, but we doubt Apple will introduce iPhone 5C at that price this year. We can expect Apple to drop the price of iPhone 5C below $400 when it launches iPhone 6C next year. This is another reason why we think it makes more sense for Apple to launch iPhone 5C as an entry level iPhone.

Storage options

There has been no leak or speculations on this front. iPhone 4, the current entry-level iPhone is available only with 8GB storage. If iPhone 5C replaces it as the new entry level iPhone, then we expect it to be available with 8GB storage.

If iPhone 5C replaces iPhone 5 then it would probably start with 16GB storage option. However, it remains to be seen if Apple will offer a 32GB and 64GB iPhone 5C models as well for the less expensive iPhone.

Availability

We expect iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C to be available on September 20th, exactly 10 days after the iPhone event. Apple could start taking pre-orders from September 10th or September 13th.

iPhone 5 was first launched in 9 countries including US, Canada, Australia, Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, France, Germany and UK, and is now available in over 240 countries.

We expect Apple to kick off the launch iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C in more than 9 countries this year. It also looks China will be one of the first countries to get the new iPhones. Apple is also expected to announce its partnership with China Mobile.

Final comments

It will be intriguing to see at what price Apple plans to sell iPhone 5C. It would be a major shift in strategy for the company, which has been successfully selling the previous two generation iPhones for lower prices.

One thing is quite clear that even though it has been called the “cheap” or “low-cost” iPhone and primarily for China and emerging markets like India, iPhone 5C would be anything but cheap.

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