Unless you have been vacationing at the South Pole, you have probably heard that Apple has released another batch of products including the newest iPhone. The pictures from the press release show the same design and form of the iPhone that has become almost cliché now. But Apple’s new colorific addition to the iPhone line, the 5c is what most people are buzzing about. It is the first phone Apple has designed to specifically compete in the mid-range smartphone market.
The iPhone 5c (the c stands for color…or cheap depending on who you talk to) is revolutionary in that it is the first of the iPhone line to be built of plastic. Not “plastic” as in off brand cheap sweat shop produced. Instead this is plastic Apple style. The case is an engineered single molded piece of colored polycarbonate with an interior frame made of reinforced steel. Apple made quite a deal about the case during the keynote announcement of the phone, showing that it can handle the day to day wear of the typical smartphone user. Add an Apple designed color coordinating case to the phone and you now have a very personalized smartphone that can reflect the spirit of the user (or at least show what their favorite colors are). Use of the plastic case instead of the typical metal case allows Apple to lower the price point just a bit to allow the more budget conscious user to consider a purchase. At $99 with a 2 year contract, the phone is priced to sell. But does inexpensive mean slacking performance?
While the new iPhone 5c may have a fun eclectic look to it, inside is a bit more disappointing from a performance standpoint, especially if you already own an iPhone 5. Apple kept the same processor for the 5c that is currently installed on the 5, the A6 chip, so no jump there. The camera function is also essentially the same sporting an 8 megapixel rear camera, and a 720p front camera. Both phones are LTE 4G capable and Wi-Fi enabled. Both phones have a 4 inch Retina display capable of screen resolutions up to 1136 x 640 with 326ppi. In nearly all aspects, the 5c is virtually the same phone as the iPhone 5, but with a new colorful case. The only improvement worth mentioning is the increase in battery life with an upgraded lithium-ion battery capable of 10 hours talk time.
The iPhone 5c will come pre-installed with Apple’s new iOS7, which is anticipated to be the real upgrade to the iPhone line this year. Not much of the previous version of iOS6 will remain, with most of the apps redesigned, the interface streamlined, and the experience more “Android” like. The core easy to use features that users have come to rely upon with iOS will still be around but with a more modern feel.
Bottom line: The iPhone 5c is a brilliant attempt by Apple to make the iPhone “cool” again. Sharp, well-built and colorfully fun, the 5c is a great phone for anyone looking to upgrade from the iPhone 4 series models, or for those legacy Blackberry users looking to make the switch. But from a pure performance perspective, if you already have the iPhone 5, skip over the 5c, purchase the high end 5s, and get yourself a color case.