In keeping with yesterday’s rumor, Apple officially launched a new 8GB iPhone 5c in European markets Tuesday morning. The UK, French, German and Chinese Apple stores are all selling the 8GB 5c, but as of yet, there is no 8GB 5c available to U.S. customers.
On Monday, a leaked memo from the German wireless carrier O2 heralded the arrival of a new 8GB iPhone 5c. The internal email indicated that a new 8GB iPhone 5C would be going on sale Tuesday, March 18, for €509 ($707), which is a price reduction of €60 from the 16GB price tag of €569 ($791).
While the German O2 store doesn’t show the unsubsidized cost of a new 8GB 5c, it’s currently retailing for €549 on the German online Apple store (the 16GB retails for €599 while the 32GB is going for €699). The UK store has the 8GB 5c going for £429, which is £40 cheaper than the 16GB at £469. And the French store has the 8GB priced at €559, which is €50 cheaper than the 16GB.
It looks like an 8GB 5c is also available in China (RBM 4,088, or $660) but not Latin America.
So. Okay. Apple is publicly recognizing that it has a problem. The iPhone 5c sales are pitiful—abject—doleful. Sales have been so bad that Apple reportedly cut production in half just weeks after launch. While one Chinese facility had been making 300,000 units a day, Apple was said to cut the order to 150,000 just one month after the release of the 5c. During their first weekend, 5s sales were said to outpace 5c sales by more than three-to-one.
So will an ever-so-slightly-cheaper 8GB iPhone 5c save the day? It may spur a meager uptick in sales in Europe and China, but it’s not much of an effort to get a foothold in emerging markets—like China.
BTIG analyst Walter Piecyk has previously estimated that it would take a cut to below $300 on a device for Apple to address the unsubsidized emerging markets.
Data from Chinese analytics company Umeng shows that the iPhone 5 is currently the most popular iPhone in China, accounting for 15% of Umeng’s network, while the iPhone 5S accounts for 12% and the iPhone 5C accounts for a paltry 2%.
Tim Cook admitted in the company’s last quarterly earnings call that sales of the iPhone 5C were “different than we thought,” which is a pretty huge confession of failure coming from Apple. Many investors fear that the 5C’s failure is largely due to the fact that it is still too expensive for many consumers in unsubsidized countries. Apple was also expected to release an 8 GB iPhone 4 in India for an estimated $245 (R. 15,000), but the company ended up setting the price at $370 (R. 22,900).