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Tech N'at: The iPhone 5s is old news … now it's all about the 5c

| Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2013, 9:01 p.m.

For quite some time there has been a buzz about Apple's next step from the iPhone 5 and what that will look like.

Apple has made it a habit to release a model and then an incremental step up from that model, followed by a bigger leap: iPhone3G, 3Gs, 4, 4s, and 5… ok class what comes next?

There has been the typical interest in the specs of what we're basically calling the 5s, including biometrics, a larger screen and so on.

But what has really starting to capture people's attention is an even more hidden and rumor-laden (and therefore more interesting) partner to the 5s, which newshounds have called the 5c.

While there was certainly some talk about another version of the iPhone, it was pictures purporting to be of boxes printed with the iPhone 5c label that really got people going. So what does the C mean?

Many think it refers to “color,” as there's reason to believe this model will come in a plastic case rather than the aluminum and glass versions in prior models.

This case could obviously come in a variety of colors, possibly even switchable.

If that's the case, I'd even bet that Apple would release a kit to allow folks with 3D printers to print their own cases with their own designs and textures.

That would be interesting and cool, and give Apple that “nobody else is doing this” edge that has been rather dull as of late.

C could also mean “cheap.”

As market researchers have noted, the profitability of high-end Smartphones has started to plateau, leaving a lot of room for devices that are middle to low-end.

The reason for the plateau? Probably because so many new high-end devices are out there but less demand for them.

The target market has gotten smaller and smaller.

People who already have high-end phones don't see the need to upgrade to one that is not that much better, and most others either can't afford one or don't see the need for a Smartphone yet (yes there are still those people out there – my wife being one).

So the market is now targeting those who haven't made the leap yet due to cost.

Apple especially has a lot to gain here I think, as their products are typically considered on the expensive side but also highly coveted.

Apple is betting that if Apple can make a user jump to an affordable iPhone 5c, they'll be hooked for life and also buy other Apple products down the line.

I count myself among those who dip their toes into the pool of new phones, but are afraid to jump in due to the high cost. I've been looking at reconditioned iPhones such as the 4 and 4s. Buying one of these nets Apple $0 profit.

If Cupertino would like to dangle an affordable 5c in front of me, chances are I'd bite, and that's what they're counting on.

Samuel Blair is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media and is the owner of Bluedigital Pittsburgh: Read more at bluedigitalpgh.com.

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