In September 2013, Apple launched not one but two new iPhones, its flagship iPhone 5S and the new, cheaper, plastic-backed iPhone 5C. The success of the iPhone 5C is the subject of much debate, and therefore begs the question: will Apple ever make an iPhone 6C? Here, we explore the evidence to decide whether an iPhone 6C is coming in 2014. See also:iPhone 6 release date rumours
iPhone 6C release date: Will an iPhone 6C come out this year?
Everybody is talking about the upcoming iPhone 6, and it's looking likely that a September release date is on the cards. There's talk of another double iPhone launch, but this time it's thought that Apple will be releasing two new sizes of iPhone, both bigger than the iPhone 5S's 4in. But there's very little talk of a successor to the iPhone 5C, and that's why we don't think there's going to be one this year. See also:8GB iPhone 5C alternatives
Ahead of the launch of the iPhone 5C last year, we saw numerous leaked parts showing off the new, colourful chassis of the device. This year, we've seen nothing of the sort. We've been inundated with iPhone 6 leaked parts and dummy models, but nothing colourful or plastic that could be destined for the iPhone 6C.
However, there are several theories about what Apple is planning to do with the iPhone 5C. After all, during Apple's Q3 2014 earnings call on 22 July, Apple CEO Tim Cook revealed that the iPhone 5C has seen the highest growth in the mid-range iPhone market, so it's certainly not a failed product. See also:iPhone 5S vs iPhone 5C comparison review
Right now, Apple's iPhone line-up looks like this:
The iPhone 5C replaced the iPhone 5 completely, which came as a bit of a surprise, but if you look closely, the iPhone 5C is pretty much an iPhone 5 a new exterior.
When Apple releases the iPhone 6 later this year, what will the line-up look like? The two main theories are as follows:
1. Low-end model: iPhone 5C Mid-range model: iPhone 6C (iPhone 5S with a plastic exterior) Flagship model: iPhone 6 Flagship model #2: iPhone Air (5.5in iPhone)
2. Low-end model: iPhone 5C Mid-range model: iPhone 5S Flagship model: iPhone 6 Flagship model #2: iPhone Air
The problem with the first theory, which would mean Apple launches a successor to the iPhone 5C this year, is that the iPhone 5C and iPhone 6C will look almost identical. Of course, that hasn't stopped Apple from launching a new phone that looks almost identical to its predecessor before. The iPhone 4S looked just like the iPhone 4, and the iPhone 5S looked very similar to the iPhone 5 aside from the new gold colour option and the Touch ID fingerprint sensor.
But we still think that the second theory is more likely. The people buying Apple's iPhone 5C aren't early adopters or keen technology enthusiasts looking for the best possible specs, which is where they differ from the flagship iPhone buyers. They're Android switchers, young people, and smartphone buyers who simply want a good-looking phone that can do all of the things they want it to. They don't need the fancy fingerprint sensor or extra processing power, so it would seem like a strange move from Apple.
Plus, by going with the second theory, Apple would be leaving two 4in iPhones in its line-up that appeal to different markets. Not everyone is a fan of the colourful iPhone 5C design, so having the aluminium design of the iPhone 5S in the line-up would make more sense.
Apple has always focused on ensuring that the iPhone can be used one-handed, and there are many Apple fans that aren't keen on the idea of the iPhone getting bigger, so keeping the iPhone 5S available for those who don't want a 4.7in or 5.5in smartphone would be wise.
With the iPhone 5C continuing on into 2015, it's possible that Apple will turn the internals of the iPhone 5S into an iPhone 6C in 2015 when it launches what we presume will be called the iPhone 6S.
iPhone 6C rumours
While there's no solid evidence to suggest that an iPhone 6C is coming, or isn't coming as the case may be, that hasn't stopped analysts and Apple watchers from talking about the possibility.
In fact, some suggest that the iPhone 5C is going to be discontinued this year. "I would expect them to cancel the product after the iPhone 6," said Jefferies analyst Gene Munster. "Price cuts are not what Apple does. They build products they are passionate about and then charge accordingly."
We're not sure we agree with Munster here, particularly when he talks about price cuts. Recently, Apple has reduced the price of several of its Macs, and also the Apple TV.
Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster said: "Demand [for the iPhone 5C] has not been good. [Apple] will discount it and use that as a lever to improve unit growth. I don't think they will get rid of it completely."
In January, The Wall Street Journal published a report that suggested that the iPhone 5C would be ditched this year, too, with the plastic design being removed from Apple's line-up when two new iPhones arrive in September.
We're not convinced that Apple will ditch the iPhone 5C completely, but we certainly think a price cut is on the cards to make it the low-end smartphone offering from the company.
What do you think Apple should do with its iPhone 'C' line? Should it launch an iPhone 6C this year, continue the iPhone 5C as the low-end model (perhaps introducing a 6C next year instead) or ditch the plastic iPhone completely? Let us know in the comments section below.
We'll be updating this article as more iPhone 6C information arrives, so check back from time to time for the latest news.