Rumours about the new lower-cost plastic iPhone are so prominent that we can, rather safely, take the “iPhone 5C” for granted. Its target is purportedly the cost conscious customer, and according to many articles, Asian emerging markets (read China).
On my recent trip there I came to wonder if this is really the right move to increase presence in China. Walking around, one realises that Chinese people do not necessarily seek cheap stuff; when buying phones the thing that matters most is the size. People do not care that they can not put their massive 6.3” Samsung MEGAs into their pocket because it never leaves their hand. (I wonder what effect on health this will have on the long term)
It is quite unlike Apple to create derivate devices for specific markets. iOS, for example, is the same in every country with all social networking options available everywhere. However it is not a coincidence that all car makers make specific (bigger) versions of their vehicles tailored for Chinese taste. Such an enormous population is well worth additional upkeep expenses.
While the new iPhone will inevitably attract new customers, I would not bet it will help Apple gain much traction in China. The alleged new iPhone will not be cheap, and the price is not the main reason why people in China do not buy iPhones. One reason is the size, the other is that Chinese input method in iOS sucks. What they need is an ugly maxi-phone, which they could sell at a premium price. And buy Sogou.