Apple's low-cost iPhone will strengthen the reputation of the brand
The release of the latest Apple iPhones has financial experts questioning whether or not Apple's reputation is at stake due to the offering of a lower-end product. Contrary to previous years, Apple will be offering two different types of phones this month: the 5s and the 5c, which both go on sale September 20.
The iPhone 5c comes at a smaller price tag of just $99, ideal for those who are on a budget, as opposed to the 5s which is priced at $199 as the starting point. Some investors initially warned against the idea, saying that it may weaken margins and potentially tarnish a brand that has been linked to premium quality since 2007. However, a lower-end iPhone could prove to be a smart move for Apple.
The 5s offers some new features including a fingerprint scanning capability, the A7 chip with 64-bit architecture, an M7 coprocessor, and a new 8MP iSight camera. The lower-end 5c hasn't strayed too far from what has made previous versions successful while catering to a broader audience. The 5c comes in five different colors with the A6 chip, LTE wireless, the 8MP iSight camera, and HD video.
Contrary to some belief that the 5c may weaken the reputation of the brand, Apple’s low-cost iPhone will likely strengthen the brand. Apple has proven that it can achieve a great product at a smaller price tag with other products before, such as the iPod Shuffle and the iPod Nano, which both were introduced in 2005.
Outside of Apple, other brands have had success offering lower priced options without tarnishing their reputation. For instance, Adobe Photoshop also offers Photoshop Elements -- a lower-end "kid sister" that offers the same great core features of the full version of Photoshop without the price tag, ideal for those looking for the basics such as students. Expanding its audience is something that has only helped the bottom line of Adobe and Apple expects similar results. With the increase in mobile users, particularly students who use their phone to access the Internet, marketing revolves around speed, battery life, and of course, price.
However, low cost is not synonymous with low quality. Apple isn't giving up the high quality that it has become known for, which is why the 5c will not weaken the brand's reputation. Through tight supply chain control, upfront purchases of key components, and innovative proprietary chipsets, Apple has been able to reduce the cost of creating the phones rather than sacrificing quality in order to hit the $99 price point of the 5c.
While it's true that only time will tell whether or not the 5c will prove successful for the brand, history has proven that the creation of lower-end versions of a popular product tends to help the brand extend its merchandise to a broader audience without weakening the reputation of the brand.
Ken Wisnefski is the founder and CEO of WebiMax, a leading social media and Internet marketing company. WebiMax was named to the 2012 and 2013 Inc. 500 lists and was also selected as one of America’s Most Promising Companies (2011) by Forbes Magazine (No. 30 overall).