When iPhone 5S came out in September 2013, it was accompanied by its low-cost sibling, the iPhone 5C. It is slightly larger and heavier than the iPhone 5S, but it lacks certain features. Aimed for the younger generation at the time, iPhone 5C came with a number of bright and bold colour options. Although iPhone 5C has been discontinued in 2016, it captured the hearts and minds of many Apple fans. As the first budget iPhone, it serves as the follow-up of more affordable iPhone models to this day.
Unlike the iPhone 5S, the 5C didn’t have a beautiful glass and anodized aluminium design. The case of the 5C was mostly made of plastic and it isn’t a bad thing. It means that the iPhone 5C is cheaper and much more durable. You don’t need to worry about shattered glass and dented corners when you drop the 5C. Unless it isn’t a violent drop or bump, your iPhone 5C will survive the ordeal.
When the media first heard rumours about the iPhone 5C, there was speculation about what C stood for. Although we could argue that it actually stood for “cheap”, the official designation was “colour”. The traditional colours of the iPhone were black and white, but there were three additional colour options for the iPhone 5C, lime green, blue and pink. You could still choose the black colour and people wouldn’t know that it’s the cheaper 5C, unless they look closer.
It started the budget concept
The concept of a low-cost iPhone was not known before the iPhone 5C. The iPhone SE series first appeared in 2016 and it’s a direct continuation of the 5C. The iPhone 12 Mini and iPhone 13 Mini are also low-cost models that match the need of budget-conscious users. In fact, the regular iPhone 11, 12 and 13 can be seen as budget models, compared to the bigger, more expensive and more capable Pro and Pro Max versions.
An affordable iPhone
Back in early 2013, your options were pretty much limited when you walked into an Apple Store. Before the launch of the 5C, there was no low-cost iPhone available. If you didn’t have enough money to buy an iPhone, your only option was to buy an Android model. The iPhone 5C was as powerful and capable as the original iPhone 5, but at a more affordable price. While the brand-new iPhone 5S was sold for $650, the iPhone 5C was noticeably more affordable at $550.
Although being a low-cost model, the 5C didn’t skimp on typical iPhone features at the time. Although it’s not comparable to the iPhone 5S in terms of features, the 5C was not disappointing. It didn’t have the same high-speed processor and built-in fingerprint sensor. But it had the same excellent 4-inch display and camera module. Even better, it natively supports the iOS 7, which was a major revision compared to earlier iOS versions. More importantly at the time, it had full 4G LTE connectivity for reliable data transfer.