After viewing the YouTube promotional video for the iPhone 5C, the words “color” and “plastic” are still echoing through my head due to extreme and oddly passionate repetition. The promo promises more color combinations for your phone case than you could ever dream of, and the fact that the case is made of a durable, glossy plastic seems to be one of the major selling points.
However, now that the 5C has been released, it has become pretty clear that its user interface, aside from being vibrantly colorful as the name suggests, offers little in terms of technological innovation. It works the same as the original iPhone 5, and this makes the 5C seem a little redundant, especially when compared to its more advanced brother, the 5S. So why, despite all this redundancy, do I want one so badly?
The answer may lie in Apple’s own history. Since its inception in the 1970s, the company has made a point of producing technology the likes of which the world has never seen. In 2007, the first generation of the iPhone was released, opening the door to a new era of possibility with the smartphone industry. The iPhone 4 hit the market in 2010, and with it came the natural next step in Apple’s already impressive repertoire of communication technology: video chatting.
Ultimately, it is this customizability that appeals to me as a customer. You tell me that I can pick the color and have it surrounded by a simple, plastic case? I say hooray for simplicity. Give me familiarity and artistic choice any day.
Sure, the 5S has all the latest gadgets that Apple has to offer and is undoubtedly a prime piece of technology, but it is still good to see Apple moving in a more aesthetically based, user-oriented direction, in addition to its traditional technologically progressive one.
And it appears this new direction has paid off; Apple reported record-breaking sales after only the first three days of the 5C’s release, showing that visual appeal is a valuable tool for any brand to have.
Overall, the success of the 5C really doesn’t make much sense on paper. Neither do my reasons for wanting one. It’s just a pretty phone, but that’s all it needs to be. According to Apple’s website, “from the beginning, the iPhone 5C Case was envisioned as a significant part of the colorful experience. Every detail was meticulously considered…The result is a case that feels like a part of the phone, not just something designed around it.”
And despite the phone’s case clearly being its main (and possibly, only) attraction, I believe the 5C answers the call of its time. We Apple customers now seek to customize our gadgets to fit our own tastes, and this process starts on the outside.
And so, although the 5C seems like the superfluous link in a long chain of smartphones that have made a point of becoming more technologically advanced with time, it will succeed because its outer features are capable of expressing individuality in a way that no app ever could.