By Alexandra Burlacu | Sep 11, 2013 11:04 AM EDT
The so-called "budget" iPhone 5C is finally official and it sports a plastic case in various colors as expected, but it's not cheap at all.
Apple finally took the wraps off its much-rumored iPhones on Sept. 10 as expected, unveiling its brand new iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C. Numerous leaks leading to the event have revealed pretty much everything there was to know about the new-generation Apple smartphones, but the "C" in the iPhone 5C was expected to stand for cheap.
The so-called budget iPhone is not a revolutionary device but is, in many ways, as expected. It comes to replace Apple's iPhone 5 and retains many of that handset's features, but it's made of plastic and will be available in various colors.
"iPhone 5C is everything iPhone 5 was and more, in an all-new design packed with great features," said Philip Schiller, Apple's Senior VP of Worldwide Marketing. "iPhone 5C is designed with a beautiful polycarbonate enclosure that looks and feels so solid in your hand."
What the iPhone 5C is not, however, is the low-priced, entry-level smartphone that many were anticipating. A budget iPhone would have allowed Apple to boost its presence in developing markets, while the iPhone 5C might actually hurt sales in regions where a cheap iPhone was eagerly awaited.
iPhone 5C specs
The new iPhone 5C is based on Apple's A6 processor, just like the original iPhone 5. It remains uncertain at this point whether the new model sports a performance upgrade, but Schiller mentioned that the smartphone has "console-level graphics."
The handset sports a 4-inch Retina display with a resolution of 1136 x 640 and a pixel density of 326 pixels per inch (ppi), delivering the same brightness and contrast as the iPhone 5. Unlike the model it's based on, however, the iPhone 5C only comes in 16GB and 32GB storage configurations, without a 64GB model.
Other specs include an 8-megapixel iSight camera and a 1.2-megapixel FaceTime shooter, bringing slight improvements over the previous iteration. Otherwise, most of the iPhone 5C's features seem unchanged compared to those of the iPhone 5.
The new iPhone 5C does pack a slightly larger battery than the original iPhone 5, increasing standby time from 225 hours to 250 hours, but other power consumption figures seem to be the same.
In other words, the big change the iPhone 5C has to offer relates to its "beautifully, unapologetically plastic" body, as Schiller describes it. The smartphone is comes in a unibody hardened polycarbonate case and will be available in five colorful options: white, pink, blue, yellow, and green. Soft-touch silicone cases will be available in the same colors with the addition of a black option.
iPhone 5C pricing
Getting to the bottom line, the iPhone 5C will cost $99 for the 16GB version and $199 for the 32GB model, with both prices applicable with a two-year contract. Considering that the new iPhone 5C is basically a plastic version of last year's iPhone 5, its price doesn't seem all that cheap. Compared to some discounts major retailers have been offering for the iPhone 5, the iPhone 5C's pricing seems even less impressive.
According to Apple's website, the unlocked version of the iPhone 5C, meanwhile, will cost $549 for the 16GB model and $649 for the 32GB variant.
While these prices are not outrageous for a new smartphone, especially one with Apple branding, they're certainly not the budget-friendly price tags everyone was expecting to see with the iPhone 5C.
The new iPhone 5C will be available from the Apple Online Store, the company's retail stores, through all four major carriers - AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless - and select Apple Authorized Resellers. The smartphone will launch in the U.S., Australia, Canada, France, China, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Puerto Rico, Singapore and the UK on Friday, Sept. 20. Pre-orders for the handset will commence on Friday, Sept. 13.
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