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

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 It might be logical to assume the 4s will be gone soon, but Apple is still selling the even older, even more out-of-date iPhone 4 in China and India, so it's probably safer to assume the iPhone 4s will be gone from some markets soon.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.

Chris Umiastowski

Chris was a sell side financial analyst covering the tech sector for over 10 years. He left the industry to enjoy a change in lifestyle as an entrepreneur, consultant, and technology writer.

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There are 27 comments. Add yours.

ShameerMulji says:

Over at 9to5mac Ben Lovejoy has an article posting his reasoning behind the move plus a statement by Apple;

http://9to5mac.com/2014/03/18/opinion-why-has-apple-launched-a-barely-us...

Here's the statement by Apple;

"“The mid-tier iPhone segment is growing year-over-year and the 8GB model provides a more affordable option for markets where LTE is becoming more established,” an Apple representative told Re/code. The iPhone 5c, unlike the iPhone 4s, which is also still sold, supports LTE networks."

Here's Lovejoy's reasoning;

"Perhaps there is a segment of the market that just wants a new model iPhone, but won’t do very much with it. Maybe a new-model iPhone is a status symbol to them. Maybe they like the ease of use of iOS. But either way, they have very modest needs: they stick with the on-board apps, load up a few music albums, take a modest number of photos. Maybe for them, 8GB is enough."

Sounds about right to me.

philips9179 says:

so hang on shameer and chris, let me get this straight, some 'didn't know better' mum, or worse 'a first timer' to the apple ecosystem finds out the phone they just bought for £407, let me just repeat that, £407, won't hold s**t. what do you think gonna happen to that phone and what do think thats gonna do for apples brand, when those people find out how much it can hold and think "hang on i just paid £407 for this piece of ..., do the people who run apple actually live in the real world or what, why do chocolate kettles keep on springing to mind, i would buy an android phone just on principle, and i don't think i would be the only one...

philips9179 says:

Meanwhile in the Crimea, the Russians want to find out how to start a war, and they think 'I know, let's shot a Ukrainian soldier', I'm going back to bed!

Ahmad Zulfadhli says:

Agree with you... It's a ridiculous move by apple for introducing 8gb iphone... People might buy it... And they would return it in a week after they realized, the phone couldnt hold shit...

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nat750 says:

I see the logic behind the iPad 4 but the iPhone 5c situation will only make some sense if it's free on contract because the £429 buy outright price is still too much & 8gb is really no good when there's no option to up your storage with micro sd.

Ry says:

Surprised it took them so long to move away from the 30-pin connector in the iPad line.

Ahmad Zulfadhli says:

It's apple... What do you expect? They dont care about consumers... What they care about is profits and money... Ipad2 is 3 years old... Too slow.. Couldnt hold ios7 anymore... Laggy... Still, apple want to sell it..

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Taz89 says:

Lol 8gb iPhone for £430, couldn't apple have just kept the 16gb and lowered that instead of being this stingy, like the 5c wasn't already overpriced. As for the Ipad 4 being resurrected makes complete sense it never should have been killed and the Ipad 2 never should have been sold for the price they were asking.

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Ahmad Zulfadhli says:

Agreed.... That's why so many people hate apple because of this... They dont really care what consumers need... They only care about profits...

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JordanHomes says:

I believe there is a segment out there that Apple does not traditionally target; the non-smart phone shopper. Took my mother-in-law in to AT&T to get a new phone and replace her broken flip phone. Let's see... what to get. Another flip phone that is very difficult to send txt messages from? Nope. Android? Please!! iOS is really easy to use. So let's not call it a "smart phone", let's call it easy to use and new. She picked up the 5c 16Gb. If there was an 8Gb, that would have been fine. She is also pleased that when she takes a picture it magically appears on her iPad! Whoop!

Didier Ouzaid says:

Funny how many 'analysts' we have out there. When the iphone 5c came out, lots of 'experts' were spreading the little knowledge they had like butter to try and make sense of Apple's move. Now this comes out and the same happens. Your mother in law that could have picked up the 8gb, the non smart phone shopper, the one on an AT&T contract that gonna get it for free as opposed to many EU and emerging countries where subsidies arent the norm, blah blah. Trying and play Horace Dediu isnt for everyone.

Could just be that Apple havent really figured things out completely with that phone (segment, price point on non-US markets, competition, etc.). But that's ok, it's a first for them. No need to try and go to far-fetched conclusions to get yourself to believe Apple has it all figured out. It's ok if they dont. It's still an amazing companies with awesome products (for the most part).

Nicholas Kathrein says:

8 GB is nothing. iOS 7 takes so much space. Lets say 2.5 GBs. Then when iOS 8 comes you will need 2 gb or so of space so it can install. Right there your up to 4.5 gone and that's being conservative. You pretty much have to delete most of the stuff on you phone to do an OS update. I've had phones with no space. It's a form of Hell when you have no space and you have to only have a handful of apps and then have always delete you media off the phone. The difference is price for 16gb to 8gb is about $10. This phone shouldn't be any more than $300.

Ahmad Zulfadhli says:

Agreed... Such a lame move by apple... That's why so many people hate apple... Because apple is too greedy

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Ian Thompson2 says:

We all know exactly what we will see from Apple this year, the next year and the next. Same shit, slightly new design..if that. Good luck apple owners! They're falling out fast.

wamsille says:

If this was a Lumia device with a marginal jump in specs, network connectivity and a slightly lower price-point there wouldn't be nearly as many jeers. But, because this is Apple comments such as this "same @#$@#$, different day" find an audience because it's en vogue to hate.

Do I agree with the 8GB iPhone 5C? No. I don't even agree with the 5C line at all. But, this option is at present overseas and not in the US. The 5C isn't flying off the shelves. I would like to think that the cost of manufacturing 5C devices with 8GB storage instead of 16GB is roughly the same, but if they can shave off a few points on their expenses and move 5C parts out of their warehouses sooner then why not?

Someone wants an 8GB smartphone. I don't. For others, this will work. I would suspect that the 5C line will help up modernize the hardware standards of Apple's product line in all regions and nothing more. If the small savings in the 8GB model is enough for someone to make the purchase, it's that hook Apple hopes will lure them into future purchases down the road. Those people probably want a device that just works, works well and they don't have to fuss with it. The iPhone covers that.

Ahmad Zulfadhli says:

You're wrong... Why cant you see that this shows that apple is too greedy???

In US, some vendors already sell iphone5C with discounted price.. Only $50 for 16gb iphone5c... Why cant apple do the same???

Why they have to decrease the capacity, not the price??

The answer is, apple is too greedy... They got loads of cash, still, they want to have more and more cash...

They dont give a shit about consumers...

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Ian Thompson2 says:

Half the point of the post should point out that Apple in all honesty has barely changed their device in 8 years. I've owned Iphones and Android for years at a time each and apple devices do not change much at all. Siri and touch id....... Woo. Big deal, right? One thing that's useful and one that isn't because we all know the average consumer's life is just that top secret to need our finger print recognized on a phone. Apple devices are falling behind in innovation and in reality, half of their "innovations" were already present in phones before smartphones were mainstream things. I find different things to do on a daily basis with android devices and the whole battery life argument for Iphones being better can be thrown out the Window cause my HTC phone holds a charge from 5am my time until midnight that night and it still has at least 20% left having 4G on and auto sync

scottae316 says:

Bad move with this pricing, I think its DOA for the 8GB iPhone 5c. This phone should cost less especially if the target is emerging markets. Good call on iPad4.

Ahmad Zulfadhli says:

Agree with you

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Ledbetter14 says:

Baseline for ios8 support, therefore iWatch support? Only problem there would be 4s users, maybe indication it will receive gimped support if the 4s is not dumped ASAP in the US.

The Jimmy James says:

They need to make the 16GB iPhone the free one and move the baseline to 32GB. Even with iCloud, as 64GB apps become more prevalent, developers will build them with more and more complexity, thus making them larger and larger.

It isn't a question of if, but when 16GB becomes inadequate, thus making 8GB a joke.

Ahmad Zulfadhli says:

I agree with you..

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GlennRuss says:

It all comes down how long will the device be supported by software, firmware updates. That is what I look at. If I know there is a new product coming out in a few months, I will wait. Why buy yesterday technology when it will only be supported for a short time compared to a new product. Are you getting your moneys worth in the older product?

jawe347 says:

I like Apple, I really do. But 8GB iPhone is some BS!! They want you to have access to all of these apps, music, movies, productivity software but are stingy with the storage sizes. iPhones and iPads should come with no less than 64GB. This 8/16/32/64/128 model needs to be eliminated. 8GB is a pissing in the face of consumers. 16GB is a slap in the face, 32GB is a spit in the face of consumers.

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Roshizzle731 says:

8GB is just ridiculous there are apps out there that are larger than 1GB. I have a 16GB iPhone and I don't purchase half the apps I would like to because of space restrictions. If they want us to buy apps and music they need to give out plenty of space to keep them. I'm not going to pay 4.99 for an app and then delete it just to buy another the following week. If they're not going to allow any type of memory expansion in their devices 64GB should be the minimum.

Randy b says:

This is such a joke the 16GB ipad shouldn't be much less a 8GB iPhone what are u gonna do with that my 16GB iPhone sucks and my 32GB ipad is the same even if you use box to store photos that app takes up space on the phone apple needs to give us iCloud storage or do better like iPhone should start at 32GB and the ipad at 64GB

dustinsipad says:

going with the trend it would not surprise me if we see color polycarbonate version iPads in various colors soon.

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