Long before Apple Inc. officially introduced the new iPhone 5c on Sept. 10, media speculation had guessed that the phone would be the "cheaper" version of a smartphone.
But that does not mean that Apple's award-winning designers or engineers wanted anything about the plastic-bodied phone to look or feel cheap.
In a video introducing the 5c at Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple's news conference, design chief Jony Ive stressed the high-end manufacturing that goes into the one-piece polycarbonate outer body — from the steel reinforced frame that also serves as the antenna to the high gloss coating.
"It is an extraordinarily rigid structure and has a solid, dense feel that you would not expect from a plastic product," he said.
The 5c will sell starting at $99 with a contract from service providers, and be available in five colors: green, yellow, blue, white and pink. The aluminum-bodied iPhone 5s will sell starting at $199.
The two phones replace the existing iPhone 5. Apple will also sell a silicone case for the 5c, available in six colors with black also available in addition to the existing colors for phone itself.
The lower price for the 5c will allow Apple to reach a wider range of customers, CEO Tim Cook said. The company also said the materials it uses will be environmentally friendly.
Ive said Apple wanted the 5c to be both "colorful and well made." Using PC, the company was able to replace multiple parts with a single component with a "continuous and seamless" exterior.
"[We were] developing form, material and color in unison, with each element informing the other," he said. "The iPhone 5c is beautifully, unapologetically plastic."