Cleanup on aisle 5: Why Apple is making an 8GB iPhone 5c and re-launching the iPad 4

Apple’s decision to introduce a new model of the iPhone 5c with 8GB of storage has some of us scratching our heads. So does their decision to reintroduce the previously killed off iPad 4. What’s going on? Has Apple gone insane? I don’t think so. It may not qualify as a genius business move or anything exceptionally special, but I think it makes sense.

Now both full-sized iPads have Retina displays.

The iPad 2, which is replaced by the re-introduction of the iPad 4, was the only iPad to sport the legacy 30-pin connector. So at least in the iPad lineup there is no more of the old connector and every iPad now sports a decent processor. It also had a standard density display and the lowest density display in Apple's lineup. Now both full-sized iPads have Retina displays.

In iPhone land, it’s not quite as clear because Apple is still selling the iPhone 4s, which has the legacy connector, a shorter screen, and obviously carries a weaker set of specs compared to the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c. It might be logical to assume the 4s will be gone soon, but Apple is still selling the even older, even more out-of-date iPhone 4 in China and India, so it's probably safer to assume the iPhone 4s will be gone from some markets soon.

Furthermore it seems logical to assume that future software releases, like the anticipated iOS 8, will be made available only to more modern iPads and iPhones that com with more powerful processors, retina display, and the lightning connector.

In other words, what this seems like to me is a clean up. (Judging from many of the comments on iMore, many of you have come to a similar conclusion.)

The bigger question is, “What’s next?”

In my mind, the bigger question is, “What’s next?” If Apple wants to clean up its product lineup there is probably a good reason. Tim Cook has been telling us to expect new product categories this year. Perhaps he’s talking, at least in part, about services that require minimum hardware specs to support?

It’s easy to say Apple is just rearranging the deck chairs. But I it’s amateurish to do so, because it involves absolutely no forward thinking. While I don’t claim to know what’s coming next, I suspect this move is connected to bigger 2014 plans. I’d love to read your comments on what you expect to see this year.