As the Chinese often say, good things come in pairs. Apple’s latest iPhone hopes to drive up the goodness quotient with two kindred versions: the 5S and the 5C. Pre-reveal rumours suggested that the former is the premium phone, while the latter is the cheaper one. In fashion-speak, the 5C could be the diffusion line, but Apple has not touted it as a budget buy. According to the US pricing, the difference between the two is about USD100. That does not make the 5C a cheap or entry-level phone, as some pundits had predicted. The 5S does not distance itself from the 5C by considerably more dollars. Both are not like Calvin Klein and cK. To me, they are more Prada and Miu Miu.
The iPhone 5S, like Prada, eschews re-defining the main line’s aesthetic DNA, opting, instead, to preserve its minimalist looks, adding to the selection only an extra colour—something precious no less: gold—to the silver (don’t we know it as white?) and the curiously named ‘space gray’ (don’t we know it as black?). The iPhone pedigree thus remains undiminished.
More intriguing is the 5C. Just as Miu Miu is Prada’s bold, defiant and louder sister, the 5C is 5S’s daring sibling with a valiantly teen spirit. As they are of kin, they are, naturally, identifiable, but they’re outfitted in different skins, or as Apple enthusiastically stated, “beautifully, unapologetically plastic”. The iPhone 5C takes to colour like the Sony Xperia Z1 takes to water. The five shades, apart from the white, do not look like they will be out of place in Toys R Us: green, blue, yellow, and pink, and they’re the green, blue, yellow, and pink of Fisher-Price toys rather than Candy Crush Saga!
It is clear to see that Apple wasn’t planning to make a bold design statement with these phones. The lack of newness may suggest a certain smugness: they know they’ve created something iconic, hence change is not required. If that is so, why offer cases for the iPhone 5C to create decorative interest for its rear? Equally colourful as the handsets that go with them, these silicon snap-ons look like soap dishes! The over-large perforation not only allows you to reveal the contrast colour (if you choose to) of the 5C, it brings about a cuter form factor, in a Yayoi Kusami sort of way.
Who’s going dotty over the 5C? It’ll be interesting to see.
Apple iPhone 5S and 5C will be available in Singapore on 20 September at authorised Apple dealers