The iPhone 5C: Everything We Know So Far About Apple’s New Plastic Gadget

Evidence of the iPhone 5C

The iPhone 5C has become something of a new fascination for Apple fans, seeing that it is soon to make its debut into the lives of Apple consumers next month. The iPhone 5C is also important for another reason: it is one of the most unique phones being added to the Apple collection this Fall. The iPhone 5C is considered to be Apple’s low-cost iPhone, the iPhone that will sell for free on a two-year contract, cost less as an unlocked phone than Apple’s most-expensive iPhone model (running at $700), and come in an array of colors – a first for Apple. I will cover these and other rumors about the iPhone 5C below.

 

The iPhone 5C’s Credible Rumors: Predictions from KGI Securities

 

Ming-Chi Kuo is back with KGI Securities, an analyst group that has the inside scoop on Apple products. As I’ve discussed before, KGI offers its predictions on the iPhone 5S, but the company also has predictions of its own about the iPhone 5C.

 

There are many analysts in the tech world that offer their own predictions for Apple’s iDevices, but there are few that are right. Usually, sites like Macotakara or ETNews, or French sites like Nowhereelse receive tips on Apple’s iPhones and iPads before they are released to the public. Since Apple’s products are made in Asia and must ship from there before they make their way to other countries such as the UK or the US, it makes sense that overseas sites such as the above credible sites would know more about Apple products than UK or US sites.

 

Often, English sites have to use Google Translate to put the words of Japanese and French sites into English before using the words written on such sites to spread the word about Apple’s next products. Ming-Chi Kuo, for instance, works for KGI Securities; however, there are other sites that time will not permit me to mention who keep tabs on what Apple is doing. For English-speaking countries, I would recommend sites such as the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The New York Times, Washington Post, Bloomberg News, Wired UK, The Guardian, or Huffington Post.

 

When Google decided to air its Moto X ad, where did Google place the ad? With the New York Times.  Before WWDC 2013 launched in June, the Wall Street Journal knew that Apple would launch its iTunes Radio service at its Worldwide Developer Conference before anyone else knew it. The Wall Street Journal has said in recent weeks that Apple may be making a larger iPad (perhaps as wide of a display as 12.9 inches), and has recently looked into the idea of larger displays on iPhones.

 

There are numerous tech sites across the web, but usually, the most credible sources are those that are from newspapers online with the credibility of the above journalism sources. While KGI Securities is not a newspaper, the fact that it has predicted Apple’s newest devices along with their specs and features correctly in the past has confirmed the company’s credibility in the minds of tech pundits and journalists.

 

KGI Securities is back with some insight on the plastic, low-cost iPhone 5C, and I want you to know the predictions so that you can be aware of credible sources. Apple rumors and news will increase in the days to come, but you do not have to be taken sway by every rumor you hear. I suspect that you may not even agree with all of the rumored predictions here; at the same time, however, it is my desire that you weigh new rumors against those here and decide for yourself whether or not to believe them.

 

To start off the predictions, we will first discuss the processor chip.

 

iPhone 5C Processor Chip

 iPhone 5C colors

The iPhone 5C looks to be a refresh of the iPhone 5, with some sources saying that Apple may indeed replace the iPhone 5 in its lineup with the iPhone 5C. I’m not sure that the idea of an iPhone 5 replacement is to be believed (considering there are iPhone 5S rumors and the iPhone 4 is sure to fade out of Apple’s lineup this Fall), but again, it’s one of the numerous rumors surfacing at the moment.

 

According to KGI Securities, Apple looks to use its A6 chip in the iPhone 5C, the same processor chip used in the iPhone 5. This is one of the many reasons why some tech analysts believe that the iPhone 5C will replace the iPhone 5. After all, Apple has had the iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, and iPhone 5 on the market together for the last year – each with its own processor: the iPhone 5 with an A6 processor, the iPhone 4S with an A5 processor, and the iPhone 4 with an A4 processor. If the iPhone 5C has an A6 (like the iPhone 5), there is no reason to keep the iPhone 5 on the market.

 

At the same time, however, I think it’s problematic for Apple to bring the iPhone 5 on the market for one year, then get rid of it so quickly. After all, the iPhone 5 had major changes to it that set it apart from the iPhone 4S, particularly substituting the glass back for an aluminum metal backplate. It seems highly unlikely that Apple would get rid of its aluminum metal backplate (which has held up so well for iPhone 5 users compared to the glass of the iPhone 4) and substitute it with a plastic iPhone that lacks some of the iPhone 5’s most appealing features.

 

Display Size

 

In the spirit of a budget iPhone 5 refresh, the iPhone 5C will have a four-inch display. Apple made a major step forward with the iPhone 5 by increasing the iPhone’s screen size by half an inch, and it seems as though the company may be content to continue its 4-inch display run. The Wall Street Journal has said otherwise in recent weeks, but again, KGI Securities (as with other Apple sources) is entitled to its opinion. Producing a low-cost iPhone 5 with a 3.5-inch screen instead of the new 4-inch screen size, may be the way to cut costs on the price of the plastic iPhone. I will get into the cost of this new plastic smartphone later.

 

Front and Back Cameras

 

The iPhone 5C’s front camera will be a 1.2-megapixel (MP) feature. This is rather underwhelming when one considers that Android smartphones come with 2MP front-facing cameras. The iPhone 5C rear camera will have an 8MP camera, instead of the rumored 12MP camera with an Exmor camera sensor.

 

Since Android smartphones increased to 13MP cameras this year (Google’s Moto X with a 10MP camera being the exception), it was assumed that Apple would take the opportunity to compete with Android in this as well. Apple, however, does not look to do so. The reason? Not only is the iPhone 5C expected to be similar to the iPhone 5S, it is supposed to be a low-cost iPhone. Increased megapixels creates additional cost that, similar to Retina on the iPad Mini, eventually works against the idea of a low-cost iDevice.

 

The iPhone 5C will not have a smart flash, one area where the plastic iPhone will differ from the top-of-the-line iPhone 5S. This is one area in which the low-cost iPhone will remain a budget iPhone, and one area in which the iPhone 5S will retain its expensive tone. It will have a white light color, however, but the lack of a smart flash means that the iPhone 5C will continue to take darker pictures than the iPhone 5S.

 

One complaint lashed against Apple’s iPhone is that, while it is excellent, it does not have a smart flash that helps in low-light situations. The low-light feature is on, whether or not you want it to be, and pictures taken in shaded environments look extremely dark, whereas Nokia’s Lumia 925, for example, takes photos with a flash of light that illuminates photos even when they are taken outdoors. Since Apple’s iPhone 5S will have this and the iPhone 5C will not, many individuals will be disappointed at this.

 

I understand that the lack of a smart flash is the price one pays for an inexpensive iPhone, but many consumers who choose the budget iPhone may not take many photos outdoors at night (without being near a street light) – so the lack of a smart flash will not matter. I currently have an iPhone 5 and I never take photos outdoors, so it won’t matter that much to me. Then again, I understand that the iPhone 5C is not made for photographers or those who care about an excellent camera. It is made to be an iPhone for budget-conscious consumers.

 

iPhone 5C Battery

 

The iPhone 5C battery will bear the same battery size as the iPhone 5S battery: a 1,600mAh battery, according to KGI Securities. The battery size is not much higher than the 1,400mAh battery of the iPhone 5, and Apple’s increased thickness and weight of the iPhone 5C (8.2mm and 130 grams, respectively), which is due to be a little thicker and heavier than the iPhone 5S, may not move Apple to place a bigger battery in the iPhone 5C.

 

It is a proven fact that, whenever a company wants to slim down a manufactured device, the company often chooses to go with a smaller battery. Take the 2013 Nexus 7, for instance: the original 2012 Nexus 7 has a 4,325mAh battery that provides up to 8 hours of web browsing time (according to the old webpage from the Google Play Store. You can now find the old page here).

 

The 2013 Nexus 7, however, has a smaller battery than the 2012 model: 3,950mAh, with a promised battery life of 10 hours for web browsing (two hours more than the 2012 Nexus 7 promises). While the battery will deliver more than last year’s Nexus 7 model, according to Google, there is one reason why Google made its battery smaller. What is that reason? To accommodate for the fact that Google also reduced the size of the tablet bezels. While the 2012 Nexus 7 has thick bezels with an aluminum bumper, Google decided to thin out its sides in order to make the tablet lighter and more portable.

 

Apple has always been keen on making its devices thinner and lighter, so the iPhone 5C will present a challenge to Apple’s engineering team. Making a plastic iPhone that is also heavier than the current glass/aluminum model, Apple has a golden opportunity to also increase the size of its battery significantly and increase battery power along with it. The truth of it all is that, if an excellent iPhone design does not have excellent battery life to go along with it, what good does it do to have all the neat features of iOS 7? Users want manufacturers, Apple included, to begin caring about the battery life of a single charge so that consumers can do more with their devices than ever before.

 

iPhone 5C Casing/Color

 iPhone 5C Power and Volume Button Colors

 

 

Here is where the “C” in iPhone 5C really counts. KGI Securities believes that the iPhone 5C will arrive in six colors (the color count was once high as 8). We’ve seen the iPhone 5C appear in colors such as red, yellow, blue, green, and white, with analysts saying that even an orange color may appear with the iPhone 5C label. In most photos, we’ve seen red, yellow, blue, green, and white, but Apple could produce as many as 8 colors for the new plastic iPhone. These five colors may be all that Apple offers, with three other colors being lighter shades of the five colors already provided (say, a light blue and dark blue, or light red and dark red color selections).

 

 

iPhone 5C Build Quality

 

The iPhone 5C will be plastic, and everyone that’s read Apple rumors and news lately will know this fact. However, one thing that KGI Securities predicts (that I’ve not seen anywhere else in tech news as of late) is that the iPhone 5C will come with a polycarbonate plastic body, but may also be a mixed casing of both plastic and fiberglass. It will be intriguing to see the build quality of the iPhone 5C and how it all works together next month. There has been no word as to whether or not the iPhone 5C will have Gorilla Glass 3 found in the iPhone 5 or a less-expensive Gorilla Glass display, perhaps the same display found in the iPhone 4 or iPhone 4S.

 

iPhone 5C Pricing

 

The iPhone 5C will likely be priced at or around $350-$450, the price range likely due to memory storage versions. This means that the 16GB iPhone 5C will be half the price of the original 16GB iPhone — $350 instead of ~$700($649 + tax), while the 32GB iPhone 5C will likely come in at around $450 instead of $749 (taxes included: $800) and the 64GB version is priced at $550 instead of $849 (~$900). These prices are not set in stone yet, so don’t quote me on these; at the same time, however, Apple cannot compete with Android if it does not produce a smartphone at or around the $350-$400 price range.

 

Some have gone so far in recent weeks to say that Apple may price the phone at $500, but I think that placing the price of the smartphone at the iPad level may not be smart, either. After all, Google sells its own smartphones at the $350 price range, and they tend to be a hit with customers. Apple placed its iPad Mini at $329 while other seven-inch or 8-inch tablets were sold for less, but Apple cannot afford to play this same game with its low-cost iPhone. The need for a low price point is pivotal so that Apple can achieve more in-roads with developing markets. Currently, Apple is losing the game in developing countries where Android smartphones are outselling iPhones.

 

Sources state that Apple will likely sell the phone at $0 with a two-year contract, and this presents an interesting case: it is likely that based on this price point, Apple intends to use the iPhone 5C to replace the iPhone 4S. Since the iPhone 4 will be “laid to rest” this Fall, and the iPhone 4S will be the new $0 iPhone, it is likely that the iPhone 5C would replace the iPhone 4S at the free-iPhone position.

 

This, however, presents another problem: another rumor floating around says that the iPhone 5C may come without Siri. Some major tech analysts seem to believe this is the case, but I’m finding this hard to believe. Some have said that Siri is integral to and baked right into iOS 6, and iOS 7 will have no less a presence by the voice command assistant in it. This means that Apple cannot get rid of Siri in its iPhone 5C because, to do so, Apple would be removing the one thing that it hopes to use to get ahead. I think that Apple cannot get rid of Siri in the iPhone 5C because of the fact that, should it replace the iPhone 4S, it must have Siri. After all, was Siri not integral to the iPhone 4S introduction back in 2011? It makes no sense to get rid of the “S” in iPhone 4S by replacing the iPhone 4S with an iPhone 5C that lacks the voice assistant.

 

These are all the rumors we have for now on the iPhone 5C. We will keep you updated as more information arrives – and we get close to the day when Apple blows us away once again.

 

 

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