Apple’s midrange iPhone 5C appeals more to me than the top of the line 5S.

Photo source: Morgan Jones

Somebody was smoking crack at Apple when they decided that a fingerprint reader would tempt folks to shell out the additional cash for the high end model iPhone. It is a boring feature announced with a bunch of other boring features that make Apple’s iPhone 5C appear to be much more interesting than its top of the line iPhone 5S.

“the first ever [64-bit processor] in a phone of any kind.” - Phil Schiller

Yawn. For practical purposes, 64-bit means that the processor in the phone can address more than 4GB of RAM. The 5S has 2GB of ram so it isn’t even taking advantage of it. Not only that, but developers need to compile their apps into 64-bit versions to take advantage of it.

Apple likely introduced the 64-bit chip as part of its long term plan to make iOS devices a viable replacement for Notebooks and Desktops. I think this vision is right but we aren’t there yet so giving us a piece of an unfinished puzzle isn’t too exciting. Also, today’s consumers don’t care about the internals of their devices, they care about what those devices allow them to do.

Feature grid comparison
Grid courtesy of CNET

When I first heard that one of the compelling new features would be a new flash, I knew the phone was going to be a bore. I disable the flash on every piece of camera equipment I own. In my book, there is never a scenario where it is okay to use a flash, if it is too dark to take the photo, then don’t take it.

Even the marketing folks at Apple think the 5C is more exciting than the 5S. The Apple website leads with the iPhone 5C story first and its hard to miss because they did a full page takeover making the background match the color of the phone.

Apple's homepage

Color is important to folks and the eye popping colors of the 5C and the fact that there are more choices than the 5S allow folks to instill more of their identity into their choice of phone. Add the really great looking Andy Warhol-esque cases and you’ve got a phone that you can really make your own.

The iPhone 5C ships with iOS 7 pre-configured to use background wallpaper that matches the color of the Phone. Little touches like this really differentiate Apple’s products from its competitors and Jony Ive put a lot more of them into the 5C than the 5S. In most of the iPhone 5C videos promoting the phone, Jony seems decidedly more excited when he is talking about the 5C than when he talks about the 5S. That was the opinion of TechCrunch author MG Seigler who went on to say that

“the iPhone 5C is the iPhone 5 that Jony really wanted to build.”

The iPhone 4 and 5 design looks great but it is uncomfortable to hold in your hand for long periods of time. The 5C takes cues from the iPhone 3G and 3GS by re-introducing the soft curves on the edge of the phone making it much more comfortable.

I’m really happy with my iPhone 5 running iOS 7. It is plenty fast, has great battery life, takes great photos and runs all of my favorite apps. Put those phone guts into a much more exciting shell, make it more comfortable to hold, increase its battery life and you’ve got a good upgrade.

Apple started taking pre-orders for the iPhone 5C but not the 5S indicating that they’ve probably got a greater supply of the 5C. They supposedly sold over 1 million of them after a single day of pre-orders.

I think the iPhone 5C is the perfect realization of hardware and software running harmoniously on a single device. I won’t be upgrading to an iPhone 5S, nope, I’ll be getting an iPhone 5C in blue.


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