Apple had a chance to change the face of mobile again today. We currently have a landscape that splits the top-tier, high-priced desirable phones between Android-based models and iPhones, and the rest is dominated — absolutely dominated — by cheap Android-powered handsets. An inexpensive model from Apple could have changed all that. But they didn't do it. They could have, but for whatever reason they chose not to. And that doesn't help the consumers.
Android was designed to grab this lower-end market, and it's a great way to get smartphones into the hands of people who couldn't — or wouldn't — spend a lot of money to get one. It's a money-making plan, and why Android is free and why Google developers are sharing ways to make things great looking and running. We love it, and personally I'm a genuine fan of low-price, low-spec phones that bring the web and all it can do to more people.
The problem is that right now Samsung, LG and the rest of the bunch have very little incentive to make those cheap phones better. I realize that you don't spend millions of R&D dollars on something with little to no profit margin, but it seems like every few months something comes out that is just going to be painful to use every day. And with no outside competition, these current players have no reason to care how bad some of these phones really are.
A $300 iPhone 5c (remember, this is an outright price, with no contract) would have changed all this. Apple is certainly in the financial position to have a lower profit margin on the product, and it would put iOS and iTunes in hands that will never hold it otherwise. I'm sure the financial planners in Cupertino have valid reasons for not doing it, but I can't help that I'm disappointed. I wanted to see some fierce competition in the budget market, and I didn't get any.
The iPhone 5C will sell millions. It's bright and shiny and new. It also will run very nicely, because whether we want to admit it or not the iPhone 5 — which it is based on — was a very nice mobile device. It's too bad Apple didn't change everything, again.
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