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The iPhone 5C is a mistake, a failure, a disaster, a flop, a dud

John Cox | March 20, 2014
Here's a hit list of iPhone 5C hysteria, from the iOSphere. We post the headline, the claim, and the reality.

Here's a hit list of iPhone 5C hysteria, from the iOSphere. We post the headline, the claim, and the reality.

Did the iPhone 5c Hurt Apple's North America Sales? 

Seth Fiegerman, Mashable

The claim: "Cook attributed the decline [in sales] to two factors: carriers and the iPhone 5c. We actually sold more iPhone 5Ses than we projected. The mix was stronger to the 5s,' he said, confirming reports in recent months that suggested far more consumers were flocking to the more expensive iPhone 5s over the cheaper 5c. It took us some amount of time to build the mix that customers were demanding and as a result, we lost some sort of units for part of the quarter in North America.' "

The reality: Cook actually attributed the slower iPhone growth in the U.S. to 1) higher-than-expected demand for the iPhone 5s, and the corresponding delay in cranking out enough units to meet that demand, and 2) fewer upgrades by mobile subscribers because carriers changed or more strictly enforced their upgrade policies. He didn't mention the iPhone 5c.

Op-Ed: Apple's iPhone 5c Has Been A Mistake That Won't Be Repeated 

Bryan Wolfe, AppAdvice

The claim: "Cupertino will never admit it, but the mid-priced iPhone 5c could be Apple's first product failure of the iPhone era....Apple is already taking steps to kill the iPhone 5c[.] Like a jigsaw puzzle, the pieces to suggest this is where Apple is heading are beginning to fall into place. The less expensive plastic exterior found on the iPhone 5c is being ditched, according to the [Wall Street Journal]."

The reality: The jigsaw puzzle is a figment of Wolfe's imagination and its pieces are anonymous sources "familiar with the situation" (in the case of the Wall Street Journal), pure rumor, and context-less data points.  There is so far no credible evidence that shows or hints that Apple is either killing the 5c or ditching its plastic exterior.

The iPhone 5c Turned Out To Be A Dud 

Steve Kovach, BusinessInsider

The claim: "And it looks like the 5c is turning out to be a dud in terms of sales (it's still a nice phone), at least compared to the iPhone 5s. While Apple doesn't break out sales of individual models, we have plenty of evidence showing that the 5c isn't performing very well with consumers."

The reality: Kovach is saying that the 5c would be successful only if it sold some unspecified number closer to the sales total of the 5s. That may be Kovach's criteria, but Apple has never disclosed what its own measure of success is for the 5c (and it's unlikely to be Kovach's). The main evidence he cites is a rise in the average selling price of the iPhone, returning to its customary and unique in the smartphone industry - high level. The rise in the ASP does, indeed, show that the 5s is popular. It doesn't show that the 5c is a dud.  


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