Why the iPhone 5C failed: ‘Apple’s adventures in plastic’

By Alexandra Burlacu | Feb 19, 2014 09:19 AM EST

Share This Story

  • Print
  • Email


Apple's cheaper iPhone 5C was obviously not a resounding success and the company's former advertising executive explains why it failed.

When news first started to circulate about a budget-friendly iPhone, consumers were eagerly waiting for a great smartphone with an affordable price tag. When Apple finally launched its iPhone 5C, previous rumors that talked of a plastic smartphone proved to be true. The iPhone 5C did ditch the elegant metal case Apple had used in more recent iPhones and went instead for a colorful plastic build. As it turns out, this may be the reason behind the iPhone 5C's failure.

Follow us

Former Apple ad executive Ken Segall took to his blog to share his opinion on why the iPhone 5C flopped, suggesting that Apple's fan base is just not into cheap-looking plastic devices.

"Steve Jobs was right," adds Segall. "Apple is a company that doesn't do 'cheap.' It makes products for people who care about design, simplicity, quality and a great experience - and are willing to pay more for these things. For Apple to compromise in any of these areas would be a violation of the Prime Directive," Segall writes in his blog post entitled Apple's adventures in plastic, published on Feb. 18.

"Clearly plastic was a big part of the iPhone 5c strategy. The launch ad was entitled Plastic Perfected. The launch video featured Jony Ive explaining that iPhone 5c was 'unapologetically plastic.' There was a strategic plan to head off the potential negative by boldly proclaiming it as a positive."

"Unfortunately for Apple, creativity can be a double-edged sword. The 'unapologetically plastic' line in the product video was so interesting and memorable, it got played back over and over in articles about the lackluster demand for iPhone 5c. Not exactly what Apple intended."

Segall further reckons that the iPhone 5C's $100 price tag on-contract may have also affected its success, since many consumers might prefer shelling out an extra $100 and get the notably superior iPhone 5S on-contract. Either way, Segall believes that Apple should see the iPhone 5C's failure as a sign that it should continue focusing on high-end smartphones, even if lower-cost ones may boost some of its market share in emerging markets.

While there's no doubt that the iPhone 5C wasn't as successful as Apple likely hoped for, and that iFans are used to high-end devices made of premium materials, it may be a bit rash to blame the iPhone 5C's failure entirely on its plastic casing. Apple's archrival Samsung, for instance, has a well-known (albeit criticized) love of plastic for its devices, yet its smartphones and tablets still enjoy tremendous success worldwide. Maybe the iPhone 5C disappointed in some other areas as well? Even Segall notes that pricing may have played a big role in this affair, so plastic was not the smartphone's only drawback.



Get the Most Popular Mobile&Apps Stories in a Weekly Newsletter

Apple, iPhone 5C

Join Our Conversation

The HTC logo is seen with different devices from the brand HTC M10 Perfume Launching A Month Later After MWC 2016
Lava Unleashes New P7 Device Into The Indian Market
New Disney Phone Coming To Japan
Xiaomi Locks Redmi Note 3, Mi 4c And Mi Note Pro; Others To Follow Suit?
Tablet / Laptop / PC
Dell Venue 7 and Venue 8 Dell unveils Venue 7 and Venue 8 Android 4.3 Jelly Bean tablets
Retina iPad Mini facing delays, may not launch until early next year
Refurbished 128GB iPad with Retina Display now available on the Apple Online Store
Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 – 2014 Edition: Pricing and availability now official
Amazon Logo Amazon reportedly to launch ‘Firetube’ set-top box before 2013 holidays
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy Gear India launch: Pricing and availability
Samsung Galaxy Gear Android smartwatch now up for pre-order in Canada
Samsung Galaxy Gear 2 reportedly in the works already, may debut at CES or MWC 2014
OS / Software
HTC Logo HTC reportedly considering Android/Windows Phone dual-booting smartphone as Microsoft pushes for deeper Windows mobile integration
iOS 7 Chrome Incognito mode leaks private searches due to bug
Sprint HTC One Android 4.3 Jelly Bean already rolling out, AT&T, T-Mobile & Verizon to follow
Microsoft Windows 8.1 now available for pre-order
Internet / Social Media
Google Downtime Google blacks out for two minutes, causes 40 percent drop in world’s Internet traffic
Xbox Music web player is live and ready for Xbox Music Pass subscribers
Facebook Android app collected phone numbers even if users never logged in
Firefox 22 brings support for web video calls, 3D gaming, and Unreal Engine 3
What's App
ZTE's new lease program ZTE’s new Lease-to-own Program for Mobile Devices
LG’s G Pay to Take on Google, Samsung and Apple
Facebook: Taxes in the UK and a new Shopping tab
Samsung’s VR Headset to be Released at $99, Hulu Jumps Onboard with Apps Ready

Most Popular

© 2016 IBT Media Inc. All Rights Reserved.mobilenapps