iPlastic: Purloined cases show in-color plastic iPhone 5C
But the most interesting debate among iPhone trackers remains price, not plastic
Computerworld - Apple will unveil a pair of iPhones next month, including a lower-priced smartphone with a plastic case in five color choices, according to reports from a Taiwanese news outlet.
The two models -- dubbed iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C by pundits for now -- were revealed Wednesday by Apple Daily, which showed what appeared to be rear casings for the devices.
Ben Thompson, an analyst based in Taiwan who writes on his Stratechery blog, first alerted U.S. followers to the story in a tweet earlier today.
According to Apple Daily, the lower-priced iPhone 5C will come in five colors: blue, green, red, white and yellow. The plastic back casing will be scratch-resistant and result in a slightly-thicker smartphone reminiscent of the iPhone 3GS, the last from Apple to sport plastic rather than glass or aluminum on its reverse.
Even so, the iPhone 5C will be 27% thinner than the iPhone 3GS, and just 17% thicker than the upcoming iPhone 5S, the full-priced smartphone Apple will start selling next month.
The iPhone 5S, meanwhile, will come in three colors, the traditional black and white, and the new gold -- some have called it "champagne" to predict a more subdued shade -- that many bloggers have claimed will debut.
Because Apple Daily was going by back-panel casings, which presumably were easier for someone to spirit out of a supplier's factory than a fully functional smartphone, it had no idea of the potential hardware inside the two models, with the exception of a claim that the iPhone 5C would boast dual flash for its camera.
The most vigorous debate about the iPhone 5C, however, has remained its price point, not its materials or dimensions.
More have weighed in on their pricing expectations, including Thompson today, to join in the growing consensus of a $299 to $399 range.
Thompson placed his bet on $299 for an iPhone 5C that lacked support for LTE, the faster mobile network standard -- also called "4G" -- that while widespread in developed countries, is rare or non-existent in other markets. For an LTE-ready iPhone 5C, Thompson pegged the price at $399.
Many other analysts have not opined that Apple will introduce two separate models of the iPhone 5C, thinking perhaps of the Cupertino, Calif. company's penchant for relying on fewer, not greater numbers of SKUs, or stock-keeping units. Their forecasts have tended toward the higher end of Thompson's range, and largely settled between $339 and $399 as the unsubsidized price.
Thompson's rationale for an LTE and non-LTE iPhone 5C? "It's unfathomable to me that Apple would not sell the iPhone 5C in subsidized markets such as the United States," he wrote today. "I expect the iPhone 5C to become the free-with-contract phone at most post-pay carriers."
In other words, the iPhone 5C would replace the iPhone 4 in Apple's current line-up world-wide, where the iPhone 5 is the priciest, 2012's iPhone 4S is offered for $99 with a two-year contract, and 2011's iPhone 4 is given away.
Most analysts believe Apple will retain the three-tier pricing structure this fall by ditching the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S, both of which rely on a smaller screen and the older 30-pin charging connector, in favor of a more unified line-up of the iPhone 5S, iPhone 5 and iPhone 5C. All three of those devices would sport the same-sized 4-in. display and the newer Lightning connector.
Apple will probably unveil its 2013 iPhones on Sept. 10, or in less than three weeks, and start selling the new devices on Sept. 20 in the U.S., Europe and other markets.
Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer, on Google+ or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed . His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Apple grows Mac sales by 18% on the back of the MacBook Air
- What to listen for during Apple's earnings call today
- Timeline: How Apple's iOS gained enterprise cred
- Apple and IBM: A winning combo for IT
- IBM and Apple ties go way back
- Apple quickly counters China claim of iPhone spying
- China calls the iPhone and iOS 7 threats to national security
- Apple's CarPlay to dominate infotainment systems, will be in 24M cars by 2019
- Dev interest in OS X Yosemite is 4X what it was for Mavericks in '13
- Apple yanks Google Maps from iCloud's 'Find My iPhone'
Read more about Smartphones in Computerworld's Smartphones Topic Center.
- Tips for Driving User Adoption in New Technology Deployment Read this checklist on tips for driving user adoption to see where you stand.
- Who does NSS Labs "Recommend" for NGFW? In 2012, NSS Labs found that most available NGFW solutions "fell short in performance and security effectiveness." In 2013 NSS Labs noted "marked...
- 5 Ways Dropbox for Business Keeps Your Data Protected Protecting your data isn't a feature on a checklist, something to be tacked on as an afterthought. Download here to find out how...
- What is this "File Sync" Thing and Why Should I Care About It? All of a sudden, getting a file from your work laptop to your iPad became as simple as clicking "Save." So it's no...
- What should I look for in a Next Generation Firewall? SANS Provides Guidance With so many vendors claiming to have a Next Generation Firewall (NGFW), it can be difficult to tell what makes each one different....
- Why Are Customers Really Deploying an NGFW? It seems every IT Security expert is talking about the NGFW, but what are people really doing? This webcast covers 5 real-world customer... All Smartphones White Papers | Webcasts
Our new weekly Consumerization of IT newsletter covers a wide range of trends including BYOD, smartphones, tablets, MDM, cloud, social and what it all means for IT. Subscribe now and stay up to date!