updated 10:27 am EDT, Mon March 17, 2014
Could be attempt to revive device's sales
(Updated with photo of packaging label, iPad 4 rumor) Apple is preparing an 8GB version of the iPhone 5c and may ship it as soon as March 18, according to an alleged internal email from the German branch of O2. The message says that O2 will sell the phone tomorrow contract-free for €509 ($707), as compared to the €569 ($791) a 16GB model costs. It's unclear how that might affect the iPhone 4S, which is already at 8GB and currently serves as most carriers' "cheap" iPhone, often heavily discounted, or free on contract.
The move could represent an attempt to revive flagging sales of the 5c, of which there could be as many as three million unsold units. The phone could also potentially replace the 4S, which is now generally outdated given its use of a 3.5-inch screen, a 30-pin dock connector, and an A5 processor. The 5c itself is just a plastic-shelled version of the iPhone 5 with improvements to battery life, camera and cellular connectivity.
Apple CEO Tim Cook recently admitted that interest in the phone "turned out to be different than we thought." Analysts and many in the public had been hoping for a genuinely low-cost phone, at least under $400 unlocked. Even in the US though a 16GB 5c is $549, a full $200 more than Google's Nexus 5, which is more often compared with Apple's top-end phone, the 5s.
Update: Engadget has obtained a photo of a packaging label said to be for an 8GB blue 5c. Another report (unverified) has suggested that in addition to potentially replacing the iPhone 4S with the lower-capacity iPhone 5c, Apple may be planning to finally bump the iPad 2 from its lineup in favor of a re-released fourth-generation iPad at the same price point -- a considerable uptick in power and graphics, albeit in a thicker, heavier form factor than the iPad 2. If both reports turn out to be true, the company would be moving to drop both any remaining devices with the 30-pin dock connector, and consolidating its iOS lineup to have all devices supporting Siri voice assistant integration in developed markets.