What I’d consider a red flag, a sign that perhaps we should start being worried about post-Jobs Apple, would be if Apple crippled the software on the 5C to diminish it against the 5 and 5S. Analyst Gene Munster predicts just that, though:
In terms of the phone itself, we expect the cheaper phone to have a plastic casing, 4” display, and lower end internal specs (processor, camera, memory, etc.) than the 5S/5 line up. Additionally, we believe that Apple may exclude some software features, such as Siri, which we note was not an option on the iPhone 3GS or iPhone 4 upon launch.
I think, or at least hope, Munster is wrong. Apple can withhold cutting edge software features from old devices; they can’t do that for brand-new ones. There can be no penalty for buying a lower-priced iPhone 5C, only rewards for splurging on the higher-priced models, and those rewards should revolve around hardware (camera quality, CPU speed, fingerprint sensor, etc.). The 5C is not about selling a piece of junk to some sort of unwashed masses; it’s about continuing to push the price down to expand the iPhone’s market without changing what the iPhone brand stands for. Siri is now a big part of that brand. If Apple thinks the iPhone 5S needs “protection”, then the 5S (and Apple itself) has problems.
If the 5S isn’t appealing enough based on hardware alone to compete against the 5C, then so be it. At least people buying a 5C are still buying an iPhone. But I don’t expect the 5S to have any such problems. ★