Last night, TechnoBuffalo Editor-in-Chief Sean Aune sent me an email with the subject "Where will the iPhone go next year?" Tough question, I thought, laying in bed trying to recover from all of the news out of Cupertino yesterday. We do this a lot, Sean and I, we try to spitball ideas back and forth on potential articles, but this one really left me struggling. Mainly because Apple has never introduced two iPhones at the same time, something it did yesterday with the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C, or kill off an iPhone that was only a year old, as it did with the iPhone 5.
The tricky part to this whole equation is exactly where the iPhone "C" family will fit in next year, and what Apple plans to do with that line. I think, and feel free to argue with me here, that Apple is always going to issue a new "C" model at the same time it introduces an "S" model.
If Apple takes that strategy, and again I'm only speculating here, the iPhone 6 could launch next year (2014) for $199 replacing the iPhone 5S. At the same time, Apple could drop the iPhone 5S to $99 and make the iPhone 5C free. That makes the iPhone 5C the perfect emerging market and budget smartphone that Wall Street was expecting yesterday. The parts, at that point, will be two years old.
I'm no fortune teller, so predicting two years out is even harder. But I think, if Apple maintains this strategy, then what we'll see in 2015 is an iPhone 6S come in at $199, a brand new iPhone 6C come in at $99 and we'll see the iPhone 5S drop to free with a new contract. That would also allow Apple to potentially introduce an iPhone with a larger display while keeping anyone who prefers the 4-inch screen happy. Then the circle can repeat itself all over again.
It's so hard to predict that far though, because we don't know what sorts of components we'll see at that time, or whether or not Apple's strategy will change drastically as we start to see the convergence between computers and phones happen even faster. It just seems like Apple would be better off introducing an iPhone xC every other year, as it does with the iPhone xS, instead of creating and developing two phones every single year.
I can't look into a crystal ball and tell you the future, but this strategy seems to be the one that makes the most sense moving forward for Apple.