iPhone 5C: What we know so far

With the iPhone 5C, Apple could redefine the budget category and could win some much-wanted market share back in BRIC nations and other emerging markets.

With a little over two weeks to go for the world’s September 10 date with the new Apple iPhone, there’s a lot of buzz about a possible iPhone 5C, or Apple’s take on a budget smartphone. What do we know about the iPhone 5C? Well, not much to be honest, because as with most iPhone rumours, it’s not the specs, but the so-called innovations that are in the limelight. With the iPhone 5C, Apple could redefine the budget category and could win some much-wanted market share back in BRIC nations and other emerging markets. Let’s have a look at what we know so far about the iPhone 5C.

 iPhone 5C: What we know so far

The budget iPhone could be a hit in China, if Apple gets the details right (Image credit: Reuters)


Design – Plastic fantastic
As with any Apple product, the industrial design of the iPhone will be top notch, but don’t expect an anodised aluminium or metal unibody. Instead, to keep costs low, the iPhone 5C will get a plastic or polycarbonate body. The images leaked so far show soft rounded corners and a glossy back in various colours, along with plastic buttons for the volume controls, power button and the mute button. To be honest, the leaked images remind us of the old all-plastic white Macbook, especially the white version of the phone. In addition, the iPhone 5C will get the bottom-firing stereo speakers, if the grille placement on some leaked images is right on the money. Of course, the budget iPhone, like any other iDevice released this year, will have a Lightning port on the bottom. The back of the iPhone 5C looks like a mash-up of the iPhone 3, 3GS and the current iPod touch, with the Apple logo sitting in the centre, above the regulatory fine-print.

Display – iPhone 5-like screen
The budget iPhone won’t get a smaller display than the current iPhone 5’s 4 inches, but while the 5S is likely to get a higher-resolution display (in keeping with the full HD displays of the Android rivals), the 5C might retain the 640 x 1136 pixel resolution of the current model and the iPhone 4S.

Camera – Borrowed from iPhone 4S
The iPhone 4S had an 8 megapixel shooter, and it was one of the best cameras at the time of release. The iPhone 5C will likely retain this camera and will benefit from some behind-the-scenes tinkering by Apple to produce more 2013-like pictures. Leaks show an LED flash next to the camera lens and we would be highly surprised if that wasn’t a part of the camera specs sheet.


A very blurry image of an 8 megapixel sensor that's allegedly in the iPhone 5C (Image credit: MacRumors)


Processor – Older chipsets
Apple’s A5 chipsets have been doing fine work inside the iPhone 4S and the 5C will likely get this instead of a more updated A6X or A7 that might be in the iPhone 5S. This is obviously due to Apple wanting to keep the cost of the 5C low, and as we know, iPhones benefit hugely from software-hardware optimisation, which keeps apps running smoothly. With iOS 7 also coming with the new iPhones, Apple would be working overtime to make sure the 5C gets the same unified user experience that’s possible on the more premium models. It must be noted that depending on how Apple decides to price the handset, it could get an even older processor, like the one used in the iPhone 4. This could lead to omission of certain software features.


A stripped-down Siri might be included


Features – Here come the trade-offs
If Apple manages to fit in a relatively newer processor into the iPhone 5C, then the software side of things won’t be missing much. It is possible that AirDrop or photo filters, which are two of the key highlights of iOS 7, might be dropped in the 5C to keep the hardware from getting too strained. In addition, there’s talk that the new budget iPhone will not get Siri, or at least Siri as it has been envisioned for iOS 7, owing to the older hardware. We feel that dropping some of the iPhone’s iconic software features just to keep the price and hardware in sync will not help Apple’s sales chances. One of the reasons low-cost Android phones are selling like hot cakes is the promise of same core experience on the latest versions of the OS. Google Now, unlike Siri, is available for all Android phones running Jelly Bean and nowadays low-cost phones running that flavour are available for less than Rs 5,000.

So that’s what we know about the rumoured iPhone 5C from speculations and rumours. What do you think Apple can do to make the 5C stand out? Do you agree that an iPhone 5C with LTE will be the ultimate trump card? Will we even see a budget iPhone? Let us know in the comments.


Cover image: Martin Hajek

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