iPhone 5S Outselling the iPhone 5C: 10 Reasons Why

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2013-09-24 Print this article Print

Apple says it sold a combined total of 9 million Phone 5S and iPhone 5C smartphones, making it the biggest opening sales weekend for the iPhone on record. Better yet, Apple now has 200 million people using iOS 7, meaning the urgency for developers to update their apps to work with the company’s latest OS is greater than ever. But Apple didn’t release total sales for each individual device. Analysts, however, have indicated that the iPhone 5C sales were way behind the 5S over the weekend. In fact, there were estimates that the 5S outsold the 5C by a ratio of 3 to 1. In other words, the iPhone 5S generated three-quarters of the new models' sales during the first weekend of sales. So, what might be happening with Apple’s iPhone 5C? Is it simply that the device has gotten off to a rocky start or that the device has some issues and is failing to catch on? By the look of things, it appears to be the latter. While it’s early to suggest there is a serious problem, this eWEEK slide show looks at why the iPhone 5C might not be as appealing to customers as Apple had initially believed.

  • iPhone 5S Outselling the iPhone 5C: 10 Reasons Why

    By Don Reisinger
    0-iPhone 5S Outselling the iPhone 5C: 10 Reasons Why
  • Apple Customers Don’t Want to Buy a Second-Class Product

    If Apple has learned anything over the last decade, it’s that its customers really don’t like a second-class product. And yet, that’s exactly what the iPhone 5C is. Apple was able to get by in the past by reducing the price of last year’s model. But this time around, the company introduced two new models, including the 5C as Apple's version of an entry-level smartphone. That move makes Apple look like it is trying to compete on price because they are scared of Android’s popularity.
    1-Apple Customers Don’t Want to Buy a Second-Class Product
  • The Colors Aren’t Really That Appealing

    The iPhone 5C’s big claim to fame is that it comes in all kinds of colors. But the truth is, color choice isn’t that big a deal for most people. Customers don’t necessarily need more colors; they need more functionality. Unfortunately, Apple isn’t delivering that in the 5C.
    2-The Colors Aren’t Really That Appealing
  • It Should Have Waited Until 2014

    Apple made a huge mistake by announcing the iPhone 5C in the same year it offered up a nominal upgrade in the iPhone 5S. The difference between the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C aren’t so great that Apple can appeal to two separate markets. If Apple had waited a year and put some distance between its product specs, it might have seen both devices achieve more success.
    3-It Should Have Waited Until 2014
  • The Reviews Were So-So

    Technology buyers are still heavily affected by reviews. The generally tepid reviews that iPhone 5Cs received didn’t add any sales momentum. If the iPhone 5C garnered better reviews, it might have sold better.
    4-The Reviews Were So-So
  • Why Not Just Keep the iPhone 5?

    Looking at the iPhone 5C, there really isn’t much to it that would make today’s iPhone 5 owners want to switch. Those folks reason that they can save $100 and have a device that’s about the same as Apple’s latest update. Better yet, the iPhone 5 units they bought last year might come with more storage, depending on the version they picked. For many prospective buyers, there’s no reason to jump from the iPhone 5 to the iPhone 5C.
    5-Why Not Just Keep the iPhone 5?
  • Is the iPhone 4S a Better Option for Entry-Level Customers?

    Apple also made the somewhat surprising decision to keep the iPhone 4S on store shelves. By doing so, the company likely provided a significant incentive for entry-level customers to buy the old device. Sure, it comes with less storage, but for novice users, offering the 4S free with a mobile service plan is awfully appealing.
    6-Is the iPhone 4S a Better Option for Entry-Level Customers?
  • The Gold Has Caught On

    Apple’s gold iPhone 5S has proven to be a hit among consumers. If Apple didn’t launch the new color option, it might have been possible for the device maker to sell more iPhone 5C units. But with the gold option, Apple has found a way to attract more people to the iPhone 5S and not the iPhone 5C.
    7-The Gold Has Caught On
  • Carriers Aren’t Pushing It Hard Enough

    From the average carrier’s perspective, it makes little sense to invest heavily in the iPhone 5C. After all, the margins are higher with the iPhone 5S and that device promises to sell better than the iPhone 5C. If the carriers continue to treat the iPhone 5C like an also-ran, consumers will start to believe it.
    8-Carriers Aren’t Pushing It Hard Enough
  • The Competition Is Fierce

    The iPhone 5C is designed for the middle of the smartphone market. However, Apple is facing all kinds of pressure and competition in that marketplace, making it harder to break out than in the higher end of the space. Apple might have made a mistake by trying to target the mid-level market with the iPhone 5C.
    9-The Competition Is Fierce
  • Apple’s Sales Pitch Is All Wrong

    Apple seems lost on how it wants to market the iPhone 5C. The device is being pitched as an alternative to the iPhone 5S that people who like colors will really enjoy. Fine, but what else is there to it for a person to spend $100? Apple needs to do a better job of explaining why its device is a worthwhile buy. So far, it hasn’t done that.
    10-Apple’s Sales Pitch Is All Wrong
Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Gearlog.com. Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for CNET.com, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at http://twitter.com/donreisinger.

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