Vector 11: Benedict Evans on the value of cheap phones

Strategy analyst Benedict Evans joins Rene to talk about Apple's iPhone 5c pricing, how it compares to low-cost Android and Windows Phone devices, and the relative value of platforms.

Show notes




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Rene Ritchie
Rene Ritchie has been covering the personal technology industry for almost a decade. Editorial Director at Mobile Nations, analyst at iMore, video and podcast host, you can follow him @reneritchie on [Snapchat](, [Instagram](, or [Twitter](
  • Cheap with contract?
    There are good phones out there but nothing compares to $249 for a Nexus 4. But we have choices in Android on how much and how low end we want. That is always good I think.
  • iMore needs to stop spamming my email. I never signed up for anything from them and I never visit them. Just because I'm an Android Central member and therefore Mobile Nations member doesn't mean iMore can spam my inbox. Just sayin'. So stop it.
  • How a phone which sells for 600€ free is cheap? Cheap is the Nexus 4 but this "low cost" phone made by apple is anything by cheap.
  • That's what I find amazing is how Apple have managed to push the reality distortion field to maximum to make tech journos and the public think they have produced a 'cheap' phone when it is nothing of the sort. It's a an expensive plastic phone with a small screen. Wake up folks!
  • They found out by reducing the price by 100 dollars and making them look like skittles makes the dumb masses go into a feeding frenzy.
  • Nobody with any sense thinks Apple has produced a cheap phone. What people are saying is that Apple screwed up by NOT producing a cheap phone, leaving the market wide open for Android, especially in China. Listen to the show before yelling :)
  • I want whatever apple is smoking. It seems to be some real good stuff. Apple could shit between two pieces of glass, add iOShit 7 (new form of shit), and make a killing. Why? Cause they removed all the corn.
  • They'd leave the corn in and call it iPoo.
  • Give apple some credit, they sure can polish a turd
  • No no. They INVENTED the turd.
  • Full disclosure: I haven't listened to the interview. I don't have an hour to waste. So my reaction isn't to the content, it's to the format. Is writing dead? Reading? Couldn't you guys summarize the key points for those of us who do still know how to read?
  • We provide the audio and links to the written articles discussed in the audio. And I'm sorry you feel an hour listening to an industry analyst is a waste, not sure how to help with that part ;-/
  • The 5C isn't a cheap phone though, it's marginally cheaper than the 5S is off-contract, and I'm sorry but when top-tier Android phones are going for the same price on-contract as this bargain iPhone.. how can it be even discussed as cheap. If the 5C was $199 for the 16G without a contract, hell.. even I'd buy one.
  • No phone that AC would be interested in can really be considered cheap tbh, not even remotely, with the possible exception of the Nexus 4 (now and at release). Whether you pay $50 or $200, the difference is insignificant compared to the contract etc. If Google actually manages to release a Nexus with LTE and voice/3G bands that works on 3 out 4 major US carriers, that might end up being the most disruptive Nexus yet. /fingers crossed Apple's never gonna go after a low end market tho... Dunno why an analyst would waste time theorizing over that. As much as they've expanded in software and services, Apple is still primarily a premium hardware company and that's what drives all their profits. ITunes came about as a way to sell more IPods, same with the app store etc. They've been all about high profit margins off premium hardware for a long time. That's why the IPad mini was under spec'd, that's why their cheapest laptop is still $1,000+, and that's why the 5c is made of plastic. There's nothing wrong with this approach IMO, specially when it's executed well... I can't stand some of their policies and choices when it comes tosoftware and the ecosystem at large, but it's hard to argue with their hardware approach (even if I like my 4.6"+ displays as much as the next guy). That being said, said approach does leave you open to attack from completely opposite strategies, i.e. very cheap Android phones (not your Ones and Galaxies) and even something like the Nexus line which still revolves around premium feeling hardware but sold as a flagship/halo line that drives sales and adoption at the cost of immediate profits. Either approach can work well in the long run, the real risk is trying to straddle the line (see: Windows Phone).