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Apple’s biggest compromise with the iPhone 5c

Updated Dec 17th, 2013 2:35PM EST
iPhone 5c Review

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Apple bills itself as a company that doesn’t want to make compromises when it comes to its products. The iPhone was slow to get 3G because Apple didn’t want to compromise battery life in the first model. Apple was slow to open iOS to developers because it didn’t want to compromise the user experience. The company has also been slow to give third-party apps access to key functions for the same reason. But with the iPhone 5c, one reviewer believes Apple made a pretty huge compromise that has big implications for users.

Writing at Forbes, Ewan Spence notes that he has reviewed both of Apple’s current-generation iPhone models and identified the biggest compromise Apple made with the iPhone 5c: Life expectancy.

“The new iPhone 5c is going to struggle to retain competitive compatibility over a two-year contract,” Spence wrote. “The A6 CPU chip from the iPhone 5 remains in the iPhone 5c, but the faster A7 chip (along with the improved PowerVR GPU for graphics) which is in the iPhone 5s will have an appreciable impact on third-party apps, especially in the gaming vertical. The intensive workload that some of the iLife and iWork apps will require will also mean a degraded experience on the 5c compared to the 5S.”

He continued, “The loss of performance is not the biggest loss in the chip architecture. Apple is moving towards a 64-bit architecture in iOS. Today the vast majority of apps are 32-bit apps, and these run in compatibility mode on the iPhone 5s. As more developers move to 64-bit coding, the iPhone 5c could lose compatibility with many leading applications.”

These and other points in the article make up an interesting observation: the iPhone 5c is the first mobile device Apple has ever launched that has these issues. The A7 processor is a clear indication that 64-bit computing is the future of iOS. But right out of the gate, iPhone 5c buyers know they will not be able to participate in that future. 5c owners also don’t get the great benefits that come along with Apple’s new M7 motion co-processor.

Perhaps these concessions could be rationalized if Apple had positioned the iPhone 5c as an entry-level device geared toward emerging markets and first-time buyers, but it’s most certainly not. The iPhone 5c is the other high-end iPhone, and it carries a hefty price tag to remind us of that fact.

$549 or $649 is a tall order for a phone that we know from day one will not have access to Apple’s latest and greatest mobile features that are available right now.

Zach Epstein
Zach Epstein Executive Editor

Zach Epstein has been the Executive Editor at BGR for more than 10 years. He manages BGR’s editorial team and ensures that best practices are adhered to. He also oversees the Ecommerce team and directs the daily flow of all content. Zach first joined BGR in 2007 as a Staff Writer covering business, technology, and entertainment.

His work has been quoted by countless top news organizations, and he was recently named one of the world's top 10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes. Prior to BGR, Zach worked as an executive in marketing and business development with two private telcos.


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