Remember the excitement when Apple announced the $99 iPhone 5C? You might not, because sales of the phone have been less-than-spectacular. Sales have been weak for the iPhone 5C as it approaches the five-month mark since its introduction. Apple doesn"t make sales figures available for each individual iPhone model, but Apple CEO Tim Cook said on a recent conference call that iPhone 5C "demand percentage turned out to be different than we thought.” Those words are as close to an admission of failure as a CEO is allowed to make on a corporate earnings call.
Cook also said on that same call that "if we decide it’s in our best interest to make a change, then we’ll make one."
It looks like the company is making a change to the less-expensive, plastic-coated iPhone 5C. According to two separate reports released Monday, Apple is releasing a new 8GB model of the iPhone 5C. This would be priced even lower than the $99 16GB iPhone 5C, and it might even be offered for free.
The German tech site Cachsys Blog obtained an email saying the cheaper new 8GB iPhone 5C would go on sale March 18 in Germany. Shortly thereafter, the English-speaking US site Engadget obtained a picture of the 8GB iPhone 5C packaging, proving that the product does indeed exist.
I cannot read German, but I ran the text of the German blog through Google Translate. "The "new" iPhone 5C has the same features as the previous models – 4-inch Retina display, A6 processor and 8 megapixel iSight camera." Cachsys Blog apparently reports, "It is available in five colors. To start, it will, however, be available only in blue and white." [NOTE: the punctuation of that quote has been edited.]
Comparing prices of European iPhones and American iPhones can be tricky, so we can"t know for sure what the 8GB iPhone would cost in the US. We do know that the German version will sell for 509 euros, which is 60 euros cheaper than the 16GB model. That"s only a 10 percent price cut, and the US market is unlikely to clamor for an iPhone that is only $9 cheaper than the current most affordable model.
It is entirely possible that the 8GB iPhone 5C would be free, but you would have to sign a two-year contract. The iPhone 4S is currently free if you commit to a contract with AT&T, Sprint or Verizon. This move may simply upgrade the "free" iPhone to a model from the iPhone 5 series.
This is one of those rumors for which we do not have to wait long for confirmation. The 8GB iPhone 5C deal is supposed to be introduced Tuesday, so keep an eye on the news about the 8GB iPhone 5C to see if this deal is real.