We all knew there would be an iPhone 5C. If the copious amounts of part leaks and even full design photos weren’t enough confirmation, then at least the fact that Apple’s significant challenge in facing-off the onslaught of cheaper, plastic Android models was a defining factor in creating just such a product.
iPhone 5C (or is it spelt “iPhone 5c…?) is, in my opinion, a refreshing take on the mobile phone design that defined this generation’s idea of what a phone should be. It’s fun, vibrant and clearly aimed at a more youthful audience – factors that make it perfectly positioned to attack the Android and Windows Phone (in the guise of the Nokia Lumia range) charge. Its price point still leaves much to be desired – at one point, $199 to be exact – it overlaps with the low-end iPhone 5s model. This ambiguity, and the fact that it actually costs $549 unlocked, means that Apple’s lower-cost phone isn’t actually that cheaper, but it’s certainly the more economical option for those wanting an iPhone but not willing to shell out for the more premium incarnation.
The Apple Renaissance
One of the turning points in Apple’s history was Steve Jobs’s return, and the creation of the plastic iMac, designed by famed Apple designer Jony Ive.
This design breathed new life into the tired, beige-hued look of computing, and spawned many copies, even transcending the computing industry into other products like staplers and cooking utensils. It was iconic, and extremely successful. And it was made of plastic, a material that often takes a lot of flack for being perceived as “cheap” and environmentally un-friendly.
That early iMac design marked a renaissance for Apple that was closely followed by the iPod and iBook. But soon Apple began to produce its distinct minimalist designs, forgoing plastic for sleek aluminium and glass. Which I, along with many others, have loved ever since. It is classy, stylish and durable – far more so than plastic.
This design language has, however, become quite predictable. That is why I call the introduction of the iPhone 5c a second renaissance for the Cupertino giant. It adds a new take to the iPhone design, and alludes to that earlier time in Apple’s history when things were very uncertain (as they are right now, with the competition catching up and even surpassing them in many ways), and there was a definite need to shake things up. Then, and now, Apple chose to do this through the medium of design and not other strategies. Being a firm believer that through design they could build a rock-solid business strategy, Apple has hinged their hopes of regaining mobile dominance with this very product.
As a second renaissance, the iPhone 5c represents a completely new framework of thinking at Apple: one that began with the flatter design of iOS 7 and which continues with the reintroduction of steel-reenforced polycarbonate iPhones that are colourful and in stark contrast to the more elegant and subtle iPhone 5S. The 5c now panders to new audiences, tries to hold on to audiences that are growing up, and adds a sense of fun to the product line in the same way that the iPod mini reinvigorated its product family. Apple’s new design language is going to be interesting to follow as it slowly unfolds across both its software and hardware, under the watchful eye of Sir Jony Ive.
Just this week Apple moved ahead the process of getting the iPhone sold with China Mobile, the world’s largest phone carrier with over 700 million subscribers. And ardent followers of Apple news will know that the iPhone 5c has been in many ways designed to target such countries as China and India, the largest battlegrounds of Android dominance. If Apple can successfully infiltrate these fields with the iPhone 5c, then it will be proof indeed that mindful product design and meticulous attention and care to how a product is engineered and manufactured are indeed the ingredients to a winning product.