Apple announced the iPhone 5s and the iPhone 5c today, the former of which is the company’s new flagship model and the latter being the iPhone 5 replacement, but with a new design and look. The iPhone 5s will be priced starting at $199 on contract, while the iPhone 5c will cost $99 on contract.
While the iPhone 5c is certainly something new and fresh for Apple, it’s essentially just the iPhone 5 stuffed inside a redesigned outer shell that happens to come with color options. The iPhone 5c is a “new” phone, but everything about it is last generation, which is why you should just go for the iPhone 5s come September 20, based on both price and features.
In the Long Run
From a price standpoint, it always makes sense to just go for the flagship model when buying a new smartphone, especially if you’re signing your life away with a two-year contract. A $100 difference between the iPhone 5s and the iPhone 5c is not that much at all when you factor in how much you’ll pay for the phone in the long run. If you’re paying $70 per month for service, that ends up totaling $1,680 over the course of the two-year contract. In this instance, $100 is pocket change.
However, a lot of consumers don’t factor in the overall cost of a smartphone when they first buy it; they see the $99 price tag and instantly think it’s a good deal, even though it’s a last-generation device. Many don’t realize that if they spend just 5% more of what they’ll be paying over the course of two years, they’ll get a top-of-the-line phone that comes with more features and better performance.
There are exceptions that make it okay to skip the flagship model and buy the older, cheaper device instead. Particularly, if you’re a big fan of buying off-contract, purchasing a last-generation device can save you some serious cash — much more than just $100 most of the time, but when comparing the iPhone 5s and 5c, off-contract prices are still $100 apart; the iPhone 5s is $649 off-contract, with the iPhone 5c priced at $549. If you’re thinking about getting the iPhone 5c, you may as well just get the iPhone 5, although you’ll be buying it used, but at a much cheaper price than the 5c. You won’t be able to get the iPhone 5 anymore from Apple, as the 5c is its replacement.
Even if you’re on-contract, it can make sense in some situations to save a bit of money and buy the iPhone 5c instead of the 5s. For those just adding another line per month at, say, $30 per month, that would total $720 for service throughout two years. In this case, $100 is a nice 14% discount, whereas an individual paying $70 per month (and sometimes even more) would only be getting a measly 6% discount if they went for the iPhone 5c instead of the 5S — not really worth it for the features that you’ll miss out on.
iPhone 5 vs. iPhone 5c
The iPhone 5 and the 5c are practically the same phone, save for slightly better cameras on the both the back and the front. They both rock the A6 processor with 1GB of RAM, as well as the same battery with the same Retina display. So you may be asking, “Why didn’t Apple just mark down the iPhone 5 to $99 instead of making a whole new phone that really isn’t new?” For starters, it’s all about marketing. By creating the iPhone 5c, consumers will look at it as a new exciting phone, rather than a year-old model if the company stuck with the iPhone 5.
Secondly, the iPhone 5c is probably cheaper to manufacture than the iPhone 5, but they’re selling the 5c at the same price that they would’ve sold the iPhone 5 if they kept it around, which is certainly a clever move on Apple’s part, business-wise, to make even more money in the long term.
While the two devices are practically identical, the iPhone 5 may still be the better pick out of the two, thanks to its metal outer shell, giving it a nicer look and feel. However, if you’ve been waiting for rainbow-ified iPhones, today is your lucky day, and no amount of money spent will come close to the satisfaction of a bright blue iPhone.