Apple’s iPhone 5c: What’s in it for Businesses?
Conventional wisdom suggests the Apple iPhone 5c is a more economical, plastic-bodied alternative to the more upscale iPhone 5s. Conventional wisdom would also suggest the 5s appeals exclusively to businesses, while the 5c will end up on kitchen tables and in teenagers’ backpacks.
In this case, conventional wisdom got it wrong. If anything, the lower-end 5c may be more appropriate for business use than any other iPhone. Here’s why:
It’s simpler. IT decision-makers like to think long-term, and devices with fewer features tend to be easier to support relative to their more complex cousins. Compared to the 5s, the iPhone 5c has a simpler camera, and doesn’t have the fingerprint reader. Most of the iPhone 5c model’s internal circuitry is identical to the original iPhone 5. The upshot? There’s fewer things to go wrong and potentially greater reliability because it uses proven technology. All this benefits the budget, too, because a phone that requires less time to service is a phone that costs less over its lifetime.
It’s less expensive. Companies of all sizes are continuously facing budget constraints, and with the iPhone 5c selling for anywhere between $100 and $120 less than the iPhone 5s, going with the 5c is an easy way to find some up-front savings if you’re in the market for iPhones.
It’s compatible with iOS7. The Apple iPhone 5c runs iOS7 just like any other modern iPhone and it is fully compatible with every app currently available in the App Store. While its A6 processor – lifted from the iPhone 5 – is a step behind the latest-and-greatest A7 found in the 5s, all that means is performance is merely fast, not super-fast. Compared to the iPhone 5s, the 5c can run any business app just as effectively. In fact, in benchmarking tests, the A5 processor consistently beats many other premium smartphones on the market today.
It’s an iOS-based device. Until the arrival of the iPhone 5c, businesses looking for inexpensive top-tier smartphones often purchased Android devices for their employees. While Android is an extremely business-capable solution in its own right, adding another operating system to the mobile mix can introduce additional cost and complexity. If your employees are already carrying iOS-based devices from Apple, buying the 5c instead of introducing net-new Android devices into the environment can maintain software compatibility, reduce training costs and simplify support.
It’s timely. There’s no denying that the iPhone 5s has some impressive hardware that appeals specifically to business. Its 64-bit processor will give developers more freedom to create advanced, next-generation apps for road warriors. Its M7 co-processor further extends system performance. The fingerprint reader enhances in-the-field security – a major benefit for any businesses in sensitive sectors, like financial services, health care, and government. But much of that hardware capability won’t be exploited for some time, because it takes time for programmers, third-party developers, and partners to create apps that take advantage of the new hardware. With the 5c, you’re not paying for hardware that hasn’t been fully “lit up” by the surrounding eco-system.
Those colours can be hidden. Some business buyers have been put off by the plastic case of the iPhone 5c, and have expressed concerns that the device’s colourful hues wouldn’t be appropriate in a professional environment. That’s easily resolved by a wide array of protective cases. Since it’s a best practice to always keep smartphones in their protective cases, business acquaintances will likely never see the true colour of the phone, anyway. For added protection – think of it as cheap insurance – consider an armoured case.
It’s a high-quality, premium phone. While Apple isn’t saying what the “c” stands for, it’s increasingly clear that is doesn’t mean cheap. It’s one of the few largely-plastic phones on the market that doesn’t feel overtly chintzy, and in my initial time with the iPhone 5c, it was clear it was more than capable of putting up with extended – and often less-than-gentle – business use. Besides, no one complained when Apple sold the original iPhone, 3G and 3GS with a plastic body. How quickly we forget.
The bottom line
For businesses that want to standardize on iOS-based smartphones but are looking for a more cost-effective, easy-to-support solution, the Apple iPhone 5c could easily hit the sweet spot.
Does the 5c make the grade for you? What has your experience with the iPhone 5c been like so far? Let us know in our comments section below.