Talking tech since 2003

There have been quite a few iPhone 5c promotions popping up lately, offering discounts for Apple’s mid-tier smartphone. It seemed peculiar that retailers would have trouble moving new Apple devices, but a new report suggests that may be the case for the iPhone 5c. According to Chinese site C Technology (via Quartz), Apple plans on cutting its iPhone 5c production in half, from 300,000 units per day to 150,000. This move comes just one month after the iPhone 5c was announced to the world.

Apple chose a different path for the iPhone 5c than it has with its previous $99 iPhone offerings. Instead of bumping the iPhone 5 down one notch to make room for its new $199 device, the iPhone 5s, Apple scrapped the iPhone 5 in favor of the iPhone 5c — a phone that has the innards of an iPhone 5 but comes encased in a colored plastic instead of aluminum. The 5c is likely cheaper to build than the iPhone 5, so selling the plastic phone benefits Apple more than it does the consumer.

If Apple’s goal with the iPhone 5c was to push more consumers toward the more-expensive iPhone 5s, then it appears the company succeeded with flying colors. Apple broke a multitude of its own sales records with the new iPhone line, even though the iPhone 5s has been outselling the iPhone 5c by a 4-to-1 margin, according to Quartz. All models of the iPhone 5s are on a 2-3 backorder through Apple’s website; meanwhile, all models of the iPhone 5c are ready to be shipped out within 24 hours.

iphone-5c-featOf course, the appearance of the Apple faithful flocking to the higher-priced iPhone could be deceiving. It’s possible Apple would have sold that many units of the iPhone 5s anyway, and that some budget-minded consumers were actually driven away from the iPhone 5c due to its plastic shell and bright color palette. If those buyers went with an Android device as a result, that makes the iPhone 5c a liability that an iPhone 5 priced at $99 might not have been.

Either way, Apple’s reported plans to halve the iPhone 5c’s production indicate that the phone isn’t meeting sales expectations. And judging by the before-mentioned promotions that have chopped the 5c’s price down by as much as $50, stock is piling up at retailers. Perhaps Apple will do something bold to help move more units of its colored iPhone. But if the iPhone 5s is actually benefitting from the presence of the 5c, perhaps Apple will do nothing at all.

I’ve put in an email to Apple to confirm the production cut, but I don’t really expect to hear back. I’ll let you know if the company surprises me.

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