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Was Steve Jobs Right? iPhone 5c Not Selling As Well as Expected

Posted by J Powers at 10:35 AM on October 11, 2013
iPhone 5c

iPhone 5c

One thing I liked about Steve Jobs philosophy – he never looked backwards. When he put out a product, the version lines were drawn and you would either pay for quality or go without. Maybe his ideals were based on more than feeling. Just today, Business Insider reports that Analyst Ming-Chi Quo just slashed their estimate of iPhone 5c by one third. The phone isn’t selling that well even with the high-profile colors.

If you notice in the market, the 5c is getting some discounts. Best Buy is the first to offer a $100 trade-in credit of any smartphone for an iPhone. With contract, that makes the iPhone 5c free.

But why would you want a 5c for free when you can get a 5s for $100?

The Steve Jobs Days at Apple

Jobs focus was on the quality of a product. After all – he wanted to change the world. You don’t change the world by moving backwards.

Back in 1989, Jobs told Inc. magazine, “You can’t just ask customers what they want and then try to give that to them. By the time you get it built, they’ll want something new.” So when you take an iPhone and make it affordable and looking good, then dangle a better iPhone in people’s faces for only $100 more, which phone would the public end up choosing?

That is why Apple didn’t have 3rd party computer manufacturers. That is why Apple fought tooth and nail when hackintosh maker Psystar tried to force their way in the market.

Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs photo: Matt Yohe

iPad Mini the Exception?

When Kindle came out and everyone was clamoring for a smaller iPad, Jobs was very vocal about it. He even said the iPad mini was not in Apple’s focus. From an article on AllthingsD: 

“The reason we [won't] make a 7-inch tablet isn’t because we don’t want to hit [a lower] price point,” Jobs said. “It’s because we think the screen is too small to express the software. As a software driven company, we think about the software strategies first.”

When the iPad mini came out, it had the older processor and no retina screen – like an iPad2. The response was decent enough to keep it going – but it really felt like Apple was taking a small chance since it didn’t put the power in the mini that the 4th generation iPad had.

Why the iPhone 5c Isn’t Doing Well?

The reality is this: iPhone 5c was nothing more than the iPhone5. It would have been better to just re-issue the 5 with less internal memory like they did with the previous releases.

Some are also disappointed that Apple didn’t move past the 4″ screen. Even Steve Wozniak has been vocal about the display size. Rumors piqued of Apple trying different options and left people scratching their heads when it didn’t happen.

Now, rumors are flying again – maybe the next model will have it… maybe.

So should Apple look back? They haven’t on their Mac lines and the new Mac Pro looks very impressive – as long as it performs as good as it looks. The iPad mini does fit a niche but it shouldn’t be a step back. Most important – the case change is only important if it has features we never expected we needed – giving it that “Wow” factor that takes it one step past the consumer expectation. That is Apple in Steve Job’s eye.