The South China Morning Post is reporting that the iPhone 5c, created by Apple to target growth markets like China, has hit only a 2 percent share of all iOS devices after four months, in contrast to the iPhone 5s with a 12 percent share and the original iPhone 5 with around 15 percent … 

The bulk of the iOS market in China is still made up of older devices that have been imported through grey channels, but the 5c was expected to prove popular among those looking for a new iPhone compatible with China Mobile’s network. However, data from China’s largest app analytics company suggests that most buyers have been willing to pay the premium for the 5s.

While Apple doesn’t release breakdowns of iPhone sales by model, it’s widely believed that 5c sales were significantly below the company’s expectations, with Tim Cook stating that “the mix was something very different than we thought” – though the fact that it has seemingly driven up sales of the 5s means that it may, ironically, have been a good move.

A separate rumor suggests that Apple is launching an 8GB model of the iPhone 5c tomorrow – in Germany, of all places. The rumor says that it will be available on the O2 network, and an Engadget reader sent in apparent confirmation in the form of a packaging detail:


If genuine (and it appears to be), it would obviously be made available worldwide, not just in Europe. While it’s not impossible that Apple hopes a lower-cost version of the 5c might boost sales, the idea seems odd. An 8GB iPhone would be a truly horrible experience in these days of much bigger apps: by the time you’d installed a few apps, there would be no space left for music, photos or anything else. I’m really not sure what Apple is thinking here.


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41 Responses to “iPhone 5c not a hit in China either, would a rumored 8GB model help?”

  1. This would be such a wrong move. I doubt it, but if shareholders are pressing Cook for magnis and profits, why not? After all, the more we live, the more we see that Jobs’ ideology is going away. Slowly, but surely. It’s becoming more and more about cash, rather than changing the world through the original breakthrough ideas.

    5C didn’t become hit simple because of the price. I really don’t know how it is possible for Apple to make such a mistake – only $100 difference? Really? Wrong move, unfortunatelly.

    • Tallest Skil says:

      >>Slowly, but surely. It’s becoming more and more about cash, rather than changing the world through the original breakthrough ideas.

      Nice FUD. Shut up.

      >>5C didn’t become hit simple because of the price.

      Except it sold more than the 4S did in the same place. So no, the price is fine.

      >>I really don’t know how it is possible for Apple to make such a mistake – only $100 difference?

      It’s almost as though they didn’t make a mistake, huh.

    • PMZanetti says:

      Or you could stop being blissfully unaware that the reports from PRIOR to Sept. 2013 said that the 4S would remain as the $0/8 GB offering until early 2014…which is exactly what is happening.

      Getting a LITTLE BIT tired of totally uninformed alarmist bloggers.

  2. To answer the title’s question: no.

    Apple gives customers no *real* incentive to go for the C other than the marvellous plastic casing.

    For 100USD less you’re getting:
    – A6 processor instead of A7
    – no M7
    – no Touch ID
    – a worse camera and flash
    – a “cheaper” plastic shell, of less luxurious materials

    Now, if one is prepared to spend at least 650USD on a phone, this difference in specs is a bit of a let-down and does not really justify the money saved.

    I think Apple thought it out very poorly between the 5C and the 5S, but I also expect they will have a better differentiation this time around. I expect:
    – the iPhone 6 will be the current 5S in plastic (that alone would have me buying it, though I have the 5S)
    – a new iPhone Air (or so) will be introduced as a new product, which which will sport a 5-6″ screen and all the bells and whistles Apple will wanna throw in, styling-wise (metal/glass back, sapphire display etc)

    However, I fear Apple will be making a mistake if the two models end up having “significant” technological differences. The 6 must not feel like a “lesser” phone, but a smaller and “less formal / business” one.

  3. Stetson says:

    Why does everyone compare sales of the 5C to flagship phones like the 5 and 5S during their launch periods?

    The 5C is a replacement for the “last year’s phone” tier, not a replacement for the flagship phone.

    The real question is whether the 5C sold better and provided better profits than if Apple had put a version of the iPhone 5 (possibly trimmed to 8GB) in that slot, as they have done in previous years.

    If the 5C did better for Apple than the hypothetical $99-on-contact iPhone 5, then it has served its purpose well.

    • Hit the nail on the head. You need to compare the sales of the 5C to the 4S after the 5 launched, or 4 after the 4S came out. It was never positioned as a flagship phone, why expect flagship sales?

      • rzozaya1969 says:

        I thought that the 5c goal was to reach other markets, and from the rumorology before the launch, China was a big market for the 5c. If the 5c did not reach the expectation, then something went different from Apple’s plan. Did the 5s reached the 5c goals in that market?

      • Ben Lovejoy says:

        It’s looking like those who could afford the 5c decided to fork out the extra for the 5s, while those who wanted something cheaper stuck with the older models.

      • rahhbriley says:

        @rzozaya1969 I think that is what many people thought the device was supposed to be….(“to reach other markets”) but I don’t think that is what Apple was thinking for the devices. Did they ever come out and say…Hey the 5c is for the 2nd world that can’t afford the 5s? (They would have said it better of course, but that’s what we and the rumorology groups were getting at right?) I don’t recall Apple making such a statement, and please correct me if I’m wrong. Quite the opposite, people were disappointed it wasn’t 5c for “cheap,” and Apple has gone to great lengths to try to make sure we think it’s premium in it’s “single, hard-coated polycarbonate body with a steel reinforced frame for a solid, sturdy feel.”

    • PMZanetti says:

      Shhhhh. Logic is not welcome. Alarmist reactions only please.

  4. Tallest Skil says:

    OI! Where’s my comment about how the chart is worthless? Because the chart is worthless, and you KNOW IT. How dare you delete it without having the courage to rebut it?

    Explain, then, how a chart showing two 1st year product sale numbers and one 2nd year product sale number is IN ANY WAY AN ACCURATE REPRESENTATION OF SALES.

    I’ll wait. I’ll keep this text copied and pasted on the side, too, so it can be reposted if you decide to delete it again.

    • Ben Lovejoy says:

      Tim Cook’s own quote essentially says that Apple expected higher 5c sales and lower 5s ones.

      • Tallest Skil says:

        Yes, but what does that have to do with the inaccuracy of the chart?

        It’s doing “poorly” by some standards, but this isn’t a valid standard by which to hold it. Literally on the same token, you could say, “The iPhone 3G sold terribly in 2013; it has failed in the market. Look, here’s a chart of sales comparing it to the 5S to prove it.”

        How is it unreasonable to put “sold poorly” into an actual perspective by SHOWING that even though it was expected to sell more, it DID sell more than its predecessor in the same slot. That completely changes the view on the 5C from product failure (which it isn’t) to expectation failure.

      • Ben Lovejoy says:

        As a ‘new’ phone, even with mostly old internals, Apple expected more of it.

      • Tallest Skil says:

        Yes, but we don’t know how MUCH more. That has never been stated. In fact, all that has been stated is “it did not match our expectations”, which can be construed–though I don’t–as even SURPASSING what they thought.

      • PMZanetti says:

        I’m sorry Ben but you’re interpretation is flat out wrong. What you fail to imagine is how the iPhone 5 would have done at $99 by itself if unaltered, in the shadow of the 5s.

        Apple saw that as being a potential problem; for the first time in years weakening their $99 offering instead of strengthening it. Hence, the iPhone 5c; a way to re-envigorate interest in the $99 offering. Apple’s only realistic expectation for it was to exceed 4S performance at $99 from the previous year, which it DID.

        Perhaps, after they made the 5c, they thought it was SO attractive that might even do better than originally predicted…which it did NOT. This where their expectations were not met. They were pleasantly surprised to find that the 5c was not TOO attractive as to impact 5s sales (aka MORE MONEY sales).

        This is reality, and what so many bloggers and, disappointingly, so called journalists are totally misunderstanding or outright distorting.

      • rzozaya1969 says:

        What I think is that it might not meet the goals, whatever happened.

        This is my reasoning.

        1. Apple had an estimate on how Chinas market would grow. Which is a huge market for any product.
        2. They thought that trying to get into that market, they would have expectations on how big their flagship product would be. And they probably say, well, with the next phone we could reach, say, x% percent of new sales.
        3. Well, if we could make a lower priced phone, could we get x+y%?
        4. As far as I understand, the 5c was supposed to be the phone that they expected would get the big ‘+y’ percentage.
        5. They released the 5s and 5c.
        6. The market for iOS devices only made the ‘x’ percent, not the big ‘+y’.
        7. Well, x% is very good, so why the big fuzz?
        8. The big fuzz is because there is a huge +y% market out there that Apple hasn’t been able to reach.

        Some questions, did they reach the x+y% expected growth out of mostly 5s sales? If so, then the effort in creating the 5c is lost, they could have just pushed the 5s. If not, then there is still room to improve.

      • Ben Lovejoy says:

        “I’m sorry Ben but you’re interpretation is flat out wrong.”

        Me, Tim Cook and most of the tech world …

      • PMZanetti says:

        “Me, Tim Cook, the rest of the Tech World”

        Firstly, I meant your interpretation of Tim Cook/Apple’s perspective on iPhone 5c demand. Hence, the entire post.

        As for “the rest of the tech world” the “tech world” you’re referring to is half a dozen websites that increase ad revenue every time they have an Apple-is-Doomed article to post.

        And, intentionally distorting the role of the 5c to make it look like it underperformed in some way, is a great way manufacturer such a case.

      • Ben Lovejoy says:

        We devote a fair bit of time to debunking Apple Is Doomed stories. :-)

      • rahhbriley says:

        What if the whole damn point of the 5c was to put more differentiation between the $99 and $199 models. It’s been hinted at here I know, but lets for a second think about a scenario in which the 5 and 5s were those two price points respectively. We could easily be talking about how the 5s wasn’t different enough, and it it was tanking in sales. That would be a much larger PR problem to deal with, one with implications that would probably hurt iPhone’s brand as being the premium leader. Apple may have some PR issues at the moment, but the iPhone doesn’t get too much hate from its former lovers at the moment. So us squabbling over what the “disappointing” sales of the 5c mean, could be exactly the problem they preferred to have.

        So really all we know is that sales of the 5c have “disappointed” but lets not act like the sky is falling. Did they expect it to do a little better than it has? Probably. Did this come from selling more 5s’s than expected and making more profit? Likely. Did the 5c sell more than the last phone in the $99 price point? You betcha! Could they have possibly expected to sell even more yet, since it was a redesigned version of the phone they would have likely moved to that price point? That’s what it sounds like.

        To me I think they are pleasantly surprised they didn’t have that pinned quite right. Remember, they’re not fortune tellers, just highly-driven smart individuals making inferences to navigate their path. It seems their incorrect predictions on how the 5c would do may be a good thing in the long run. Wouldn’t most companies like their miscalculations to still have a positive side?

        And who anointed the 5c the “China” phone? I think that assumption was a fallacy on the part of us collectively (the fans, customers, readers, spectators, wall street, bloggers, journalist, etc.)
        So lets just yall?!

        Ben I do question how some of Tim’s quotes are being intimated:
        {Tim Cook said in an earnings call that “the mix was something very different than we thought,” and intimated that the model might be dropped: “If we decide it’s in our best interest to make a change, then we’ll make one.”}
        So the mix is different than they thought? Big deal, now they adapt. I’m most puzzled though that you state in your linked article the he hints that the 5c may be dropped based on a quote of him saying they if they decide it is in their best interest to make a change, they will….Is there more to that quote? To me that could mean a variety of things, even as simply as to give it 64-bit and touch ID next time around. What truly about the quote makes you think it will be dropped from the line up as opposed to a handful of other scenarios he could have meant.

        P.S. to add to my rant…I’d love all of us to be more positive and thorough in our responses, for the sake of a productive and healthy debate about a company that we all love to follow.

      • Ben Lovejoy says:

        I’m simply giving my reading of his comment. We’ll have a while to wait to find out if I’m right.

      • rahhbriley says:

        Absolutely, and I’m just trying to add perspective and middle ground to ideas that don’t have to be mutually exclusive.

    • The chart compares a product intended to replace the year-old model slot with the flagship models of the last two years. Without data for the 4S as a year-old model, the only things we can say are that the 5S/5C sold in 4 months what the 5 sold in 6 months, and that the premium 5S is 5 times as popular as the 5C. For all we know, the 5C could be a great success compared to earlier models (if not compared to Tim Cook’s expectations).

      • Tallest Skil says:

        >>For all we know, the 5C could be a great success compared to earlier models (if not compared to Tim Cook’s expectations).

        Oh, it is! Apple has said that the 5C sold better than the 4S in its slot, but that’s just not represented on the chart for whatever reason.

        Wish there was text formatting in WordPress instead of having to use capitals for emphasis.

  5. greggthurman says:

    The iPhone 5C was doomed to low sales as soon as the decision was made to produce it in carnival colors.

    The colors immediately identified the set as the low cost version, something everyone aspires to own. Not.

    • Jason Piebes says:

      I don’t think the colors look low cost, the phone certainly does not feel low cost either. Phone to phone, most will purchase the latest and greatest over the older version. That’s the history with the iPhone. The purpose of the colorful redesign was to reach out and start snagging people that don’t normally purchase the high end phones. Some folks don’t like the industrial design of chamfered aluminum. The 5c does not need a protective case or need to be coddled like a 5s. The phone represents a much looser product, for the not-so-serious about tech kind of people.

      It turns out, even the not-so-serious want the latest over last year’s old news.

    • PMZanetti says:

      Actually the colors are what sold it at all….vs. the alternative: an unaltered iPhone 5 that looked very unappealing compared to the 5s.

  6. rzozaya1969 says:

    I think that the 5c was a wrong phone. If the target of the phone was to make it more affordable, it was a complete miss… I think it’s almost the same prize as a iPhone 5 or if not, pretty much close, with the same tech specs (or close enough).

    To make a difference price wise, it should have been 25% lower than the 5 price wise, if not lower. Say you like a Ferrari, but even if Ferrari would say, well, I’ll sell you the F50 at 50% discount, it would still be way too much money (at least for me).

  7. Jason Piebes says:

    Why not ask the customers who are purchasing the 5s why they chose not to purchase the 5c? This does not have to be a big mystery to ponder. And I don’t think it’s a big mystery why any way… The 5s is the latest and greatest; who wants last years’ tech especially when you are getting subsidies to purchase?

  8. Two things…

    People who are in the market for an iphone tend to like the cache it brings so buying the “budget” iphone is probably not as satisfying or impressive.

    Also, when you take into account that 5C has fewer features, is not made from premium materials, is looked at as the “budget” iphone and is only 100 bucks cheaper than the 5S then it’s easy to see that it’s not a good value. And it seems that people all over the world agree.

  9. David Tan says:

    Why not they just change the pricing of 16gb to suppose 8gb pricing etc for 32gb. As well for 5s I hope.

  10. themis333 says:

    Reblogged this on Taste of Apple and commented:
    There’s only so much that can be done with it. A great phone that can’t be expected to be a “hit” because it’s basically a (soon to be) 2 year old phone. It works great, but it’s still an iPhone 5 in a colored plastic case. 8GB might attract some average folks looking for an iPhone, but that’s a very slight bit of storage for many people now a days.

  11. Consider the fact that in large parts of the world phone subsidies are minimal and people are on cheap prepaid plans, and that an iPhone 5C costs 3 times (!) as much as a pretty capable Motorola Moto G. Even compared to a top of the line Android phone like the Nexus 5, the 5C is almost twice as expensive here in Belgium.

    You can discuss all you want about the superior Apple experience and ecosystem, those are not factors immediately obvious to people in the market for a low or mid range smartphone. They look at price. So if you’re looking at spending €600 or more on a phone, you might as well pay €100 more and get the latest and greatest iPhone. Apple may well sell quite a few 5Cs, but it’s about two times too expensive to be a viable option for the general public here.

  12. The problem with the 5C is that global carriers did not get the memo about it replacing the iphone 5 as a lower cost model, so for example in this particular market (Chile) an iphone 5C is 800 usd unsubsidised and 200 usd with a 18month contract, the 5S is about the same maybe 60 usd more for the same tier plan, and 100 more unsubsidised. they are still trying to push inventory of the 8gb iphone 4, as a freebie with contract and the 4S is costing what the 5C should cost which is 100 usd with a plan.

  13. People that want plastic phones buy Androids.