iPhoneC (C for Cheap) Is Rumored. Will it Create 2nd Class Cell-izens?

Rumored iPhone5C might be Apple's first cheap iPhone

Aug. 13, 2013— -- Apple is 'supposedly' launching the iPhone C budget cellphone in September 2013. The rumored cell phone will have stripped down features to make it more cost effective. On the one hand, this makes it accessible to people who have, so far, been priced out of the iWorld. It also allows Apple to make inroads into Android’s customer base, which is much bigger, partly because their handsets have such a wide range of prices. On the other hand it provides an obvious two-tier showcase of economic status.

This might be even more noticeable if, as the web rumors go, they release not just a lower-end iPhoneC, but also a high end iPhone 5S, that could include features like a fingerprint sensor and a 13 megapixel camera.

To be fair, it would be nice to have an iPhone without the usual high price tag. But the phone is one of those things that is so obviously an economic demarcation. A budget iPhone will allow more people in, but it’s also going to signal who can afford what. That’s like some sad form of high school all over again.

Here’s why.

First, there’s the hardware. The cheap iPhone would likely have an older form factor. That’s like going back to the days where you were desperate for Steve Madden shoes but had to make do with Payless clones (this is a girl thing). The iPhoneC would potentially also have a plastic casing across the back rather than glass according to notes posted by China Labor Watch, and would likely not have Gorilla Glass (what makes the current screen so strong). There has also been discussion that it would lack Siri.

Second, there’s also this idea of what it means to own an ‘inferior’ iPhone, or really an inferior phone in general. Mobile streaming network Vuclip asked more than 120,000 people about their mobiles and found that 54 percent of 18-25 year olds and 57 percent of 26-35 year olds were ashamed to let others see their cellphone, as they felt it was ‘too old’ or ‘not a cool. model.'In fact, 56 percent of the total responders believed that the first thing people noticed about them was their phone.

This wouldn’t be the first time that a tech firm has tried to push out two versions of a hot product, that really amount to a “great” version and a sad “cheap” version. Prime examples are Microsoft’s now defunct Kin One and Kin Two which came out in 2010. One offered users premium features, and the other offered a budget handset. Microsoft was guilty of this again with their Surface Tablet. Two versions, the Surface RT and the Surface Pro are tablets which look similar yet one has an HD screen and USB 3.0 and the other lags behind in performance.

Then again, we could be completely off base, as other analysts have argued that the ‘C’ stands for Color, which may or may not be a budget phone.

We’ll know soon enough, as September is generally when the new announcements come out.