iPhone 5c a ‘Disappointment,’ But 5s Should Sell Big

Now that the smoke is starting to clear after Tuesday’s unveiling of two new iPhone models, Apple is taking some criticism that the “budget” model, the iPhone 5c, isn’t cheap enough.

The 5c is particularly targeted at the Asia-Pacific market.

Phil Harpur, senior research manager of Frost & Sullivan’s ICT practice, calls the 5c a “disappointment” for regional consumers in Asia. Harpur, who spoke to ZDNet Asia said that emerging markets are looking for cheaper alternatives and making consumers pay a premium smartphone price is not compelling as there is a lack of reliable 3G and 4G networks in the region.

Apple, which once had a dominant lead in the smartphone race, has not given itself a real competitive advantage with the release of the 5C, Harpur said. Its competition Samsung, HTC and LG all offer smartphones at lower prices that are popular in the Asia-Pacific region.

More affluent markets in the region, such as Singapore, Australia and New Zealand, aren’t too put off by the 5C, but there isn’t enough worthwhile on the device that makes it stand out in the marketplace, the analyst said.

While cheaper than its predecessors, the lack of anything new or groundbreaking is “equally disappointing” to developed markets, Harpur noted.

While questions remain about the 5c, there’s little doubt that the iPhone 5s will be a top seller, noted most for its fingerprint scanner that adds security to the device. Apple also promises it will be much faster than the previous flagship, the iPhone 5.

Sales of the new phones will begin in a little more than a week.

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