All eyes on the iPhone 5c today

The experts will be watching more intently when Apple announces the prices of its the colorful smartphone

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Some analysts, like Benedict Evans of Enders, have said that price is really all that matters.

As far as price expectations, the experts concurred that $300 marked the lowest Apple will go -- and that would be aggressive -- but differed on the high end. Some thought that $400 was the most that Apple would demand for an iPhone 5c minus a contract, while others went as high as $500.

The price will be intensely dissected as experts and pundits weigh in on whether it will drive new sales, cannibalize the iPhone 5s, and move the needle against Android. If Apple fails to impress with the price of the iPhone 5c, and with its explanation for why it's entering what in reality is the midpriced market, it will be punished by observers, and most likely by Wall Street as well.

So there's a lot at stake.

"This year's rollout is much more important, as Apple has lost market share to Android since the last iPhone," said Patrick Moorhead, principal analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy.

Sameer Singh, an analyst who covers mobile technologies on his Tech-Thoughts website, echoed Moorhead. "I think this launch is much more important than last year's," Singh said in an email reply to questions. "iPhone shipment growth has slowed and ASP has been declining. Apple needs to jumpstart growth again."

Unlike his fellow analysts, Singh believed that Apple will rely primarily on new carrier announcements -- talk has swirled that China Mobile, that nation's and the world's largest, and Japan's NTT DoCoMo have signed or are near to inking agreements to carry the iPhone -- rather than on the success of the iPhone 5c.

"It is important because as the technology pace is slowing down and the addressable market is saturated, Apple needs to think where they want to go next with iPhone," said Carolina Milanesi, an analyst at Gartner. "Should they move their hero product role to something else and just improve their margins and share in the phone market? It seems that with an iPhone 6 not coming this time around they might just be doing that."

Milanesi, along with others, including Charles Golvin of Forrester, saw the focus today on the business side, not on the technology Apple reveals.

"Many talk more about market share, but the issue is really more about margins and profitability," Milanesi said.

"I think there are more business questions like growth rate and margin than there are product and design questions," added Golvin in an email reply to questions.

If that's an accurate take, the tone of the postgame analysis will be significantly different from the norm. Traditionally, Apple has wowed its fans -- and many observers -- with its technological acumen and glitzy new features, not price, which has not changed since 2008 when subsidies first became the foundation of Apple's business model, and enormous profits.

A technological song and dance won't be absent from today's event: Apple will trumpet speed increases and new functionality built into the iPhone 5s. Just as important, it will also highlight some of the changes, additions and enhancements in iOS 7. But attention on the iPhone 5c and its impact will be paramount.

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