Data released recently by a China-based analytics firm revealed that sales of the iPhone 5C have plateaued in China. Looking around the marketplace, it's not hard to find devices that can give a similar experience for a better price. Just about every study on the smartphone market has shown one undeniable reality: Consumers and enterprise customers are buying higher-end devices far more regularly than lower-end models.
There's a contingent of shoppers out there who want to get into the smartphone market but don't want to pay high-end, flagship prices.
Unfortunately, many emerging markets around the world don't have carriers that offer subsidized pricing.
Perhaps the iPhone 5C got off to a rough start and is still struggling because it was launched in the wrong year.
Samsung's Galaxy line, for example, is filled with handsets that can match or beat the iPhone 5C at a better price.


The device's pricing with a two-year agreement starts at $99, but runs up to $199 for a 32GB model. So, rather than spend money, they decide to get into two-year agreements with carriers and get products, like the iPhone 4S, for free. The device comes with 8GB of storage and is somewhat cheaper than the 16GB version that Apple has already been offering priced at $549.
Those who want to buy the handset off-contract, which is the majority of people buying devices internationally, are paying $549. Sony showed off at Mobile World Congress last month a flagship handset to save its mobile business.
The only differences are the additional storage and color options in Apple's lower-end model, but if those aren't issues, go with the iPhone 5S. Whatever the case, Apple's iPhone 5C becomes prohibitively expensive in many emerging markets because it doesn't come with a subsidy.


The product also isn't different enough from the iPhone 5 to justify switching from earlier iPhone models. If there are other, more-compelling products elsewhere, why jump at the chance to buy the iPhone 5C?
And you can bet at least some Apple consumers have already come to that realization by analyzing the devices in that way. Apple CEO Tim Cook said he would only approve the introduction of a cheaper 5C if he thought the company needed a change. But historically, Apple has been loath to discontinue models early, for fear of losing face in the market.



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