As rumored, Apple on
Tuesday quietly rolled out a cheaper, 8-gigabit version of the iPhone 5C outside the U.S. The move appears to be aimed at boosting sales of the device launched last September, which has not sold as
well as Apple had hoped.
An unsubsidized 8GB iPhone 5C in the U.K. costs the equivalent of $712, or $66 less than the 16GB of the model. In France, it goes for $778. But local
carriers are trying to lure buyers with special deals. PC Mag
points out, British provider 02 and French operator SFR are offering the handsets for free and one euro, respectively, with
In China and Australia, the 8GB model is selling for roughly $60 less than the 16-GB handset. The lower-capacity version of the colorful iPhone 5C has not yet
been released in the U.S. and it’s not clear when -- or if -- it will be available here.
Apple had been tipped to introduce a lower-cost iPhone 5C earlier this week. The company
has also been promoting the model recently through an online campaign on Tumblr, as well as ads on the home pages of The New York Times
and Tumblr parent Yahoo. The ads play on the variety of
pastel hues the 5C comes in with tag lines such as “Every story has its color.”
Apple CEO Tim Cook acknowledged during the company’s last quarterly earnings call in
January that demand for the iPhone 5C wasn’t as strong as expected. The model was launched simultaneously with the latest update of the company’s flagship iPhone, the 5S.
“It was the first time we’d ever run that particular play before, and demand percentage turned out to be different than we thought,” said Cook.
Whether the 8GB
model will help spur sales of the iPhone 5S remains to be seen. But the price drop from the 16GB version isn’t big enough to help Apple better compete in emerging markets, where smartphone
adoption is growing fastest. Last year, 322.5 million smartphones shipped for under $150 each, according to IDC.
While cheaper Android-based phones dominate sales in less developed
markets, a recent survey found that most people still want an iPhone. Apple was the most desirable mobile phone brand among people in emerging regions, surging ahead of Samung, according to the study
by marketing firm Upstream and mobile industry researcher Ovum. That bodes well for Apple in the long run as an aspirational brand.
Separately on Tuesday, the company added a
lower-cost option for iPads. It brought back the fourth-generation iPad, which includes a Retina display and A6X processor, replacing the iPad 2 as the entry model for the Apple tablet, at $399. It
joins the iPad Air, iPad Mini, and Mini model with Retina Display.