Everyone wants a bite of the Apple – Apple Inc., that is. The company has innovated the world of technology ever since the release of its first computer in 1976. Since then we have witnessed the evolution of all of their products, particularly the iPhone. Extreme supporters of the brand have been known to camp out in line for hours, even days, to get their hands on the newest version of the phone, and on any given day it’s not uncommon to hear the familiar sound of the iPhone ringtone. So what’s the secret to their success? The answer is their brand management.
Part of the allure of Apple is its exclusivity. Apple Inc. was originally thought of as a company that offered products for rich professionals ahead of their time, and Apple seemed to be ok with that. However, the creation of the iPod and then the iPhone expanded Apple’s brand to reach a larger demographic. The iPhone was groundbreaking in its launch in 2007 because it offered its customers an innovative smart phone, at a price that was in reach of most middle class Americans. Despite the fact that the iPhone was still significantly more expensive than others at the time, more people were able to join the Apple family because it was cheaper than many of its other products. People that purchased the iPhone still had money, but could justify spending the extra cash for the features it provided. Even today the iPhone is arguably in a class of its own, and has become the gold standard in the smart phone industry. But the craze hasn’t ended. Apple announced it would be releasing not one, but two new significantly different, versions of the iPhone this fall: the iPhone 5s, and iPhone 5c.
The iPhone 5s is aimed at the same people who Apple has always targeted. It is the advanced version of the 5– still pricey, with the same design of its glass face and back. The newest features include on top of other things, a fingerprint scanner, higher quality camera, and a faster processor. The 5s also comes with a new top of the line operating system, the iOS 7, which technology enthusiasts everywhere have been excitedly waiting for. The 5c is in a completely different playing field.
The iPhone 5c is aimed at a different audience that Apple has never acknowledged. Operating under the new iOS 7 system, the 5c features improvements to the iPhone 5 such as longer battery life, the ability to support more LTE bands, and a slightly improved FaceTime camera. But here is the difference–the design and price. The 5c is plastic and comes in five different colors, and for a 16 GB iPhone 5c you will pay only $99 dollars. This is a 100-dollar difference from the starting price of the iPhone 5s and previous iPhone releases. Apple seems to be catering to potential customers that may not have been able to enjoy the apple experience due to high prices. So why the big change, Apple?
James Twitchell, author of Branded Nation says, “Pay attention to your brand or lose your business” and CEO Tim Cook explained in Apple’s September keynote speech, “This allows us to serve even more customers.” So what do we make of all of this? With market prices that are less expensive than the average competitor prices, Apple appears to be confident reaching out to the completely new demographic. But will this help them beat out competition? Is it showing the public that competition has become a threat to the all-mighty iPhone? Will it turn off loyal customers who pride themselves in being able to afford the Apple experience? Only time will tell if introducing the 5c with the 5s will benefit the Apple brand.
-Caroline Robinson, Jade Lester, Meghan Carey, Morgan Jones, Savannah Valade