Earlier this week, Apple unveiled its next iPhone, the iPhone 5S. The device featured all of the upgrades that had been leaked in the weeks before the announcement. In addition, Apple unveiled a second, lower-priced, colorful iPhone called the iPhone 5C. The 5C is designed to replace the iPhone 5, and has much of the same hardware.
The iPhone 5S did not open up for pre-orders this morning, leaving Apple fans to wait outside Apple stores on September 20. In previous years, new iPhone models have broken pre-order records on an annual basis. However, as the morning fades into afternoon, the lower-priced iPhone 5C, which is up for pre-order, is still very much available. The 5C can still be pre-ordered in each of its five colors, on every one of the top four U.S. mobile providers.
Though market watchers and Apple fans had anticipated nearly every aspect of the iPhone 5C, the price of the device was somewhat contentious in the lead-up to this year’s iPhone presentation. The smartphone markets in the U.S. and Europe have begun to saturate, and analysts are predicting much of the market’s growth in the coming years will be from low- and mid-priced smartphones sold in emerging markets such as Brazil, India, and China. Predictions have already been made that the iPhone 5C’s price ($549 for the 16GB model, $649 for the 32GB model) is not nearly low enough to compete with cut-priced Android handsets.
As the open pre-orders for the iPhone 5C seem to suggest, Apple may have a hard time offering products for these markets. The company, even before the advent of the iPod, has positioned itself as a premium brand with higher-priced products. Though Apple will continue to be a major influence on the smartphone market for years to come, it now appears that it will have to pioneer a new market segment if it hopes to sustain the explosive growth the company has seen over the past half-decade.