Plastics get the blame for Apple's iPhone 5c failure

By Don Loepp
Editor

Published: February 28, 2014 12:34 pm ET
Updated: February 28, 2014 12:36 pm ET

Image By: Rich Williams

Related to this story

Topics Design
Companies & Associations Apple Inc.

OK, I confess, it was exciting when Apple Inc. unveiled the iPhone 5c in September, and design chief Jony Ive called it "beautifully, unapologetically plastic."

But now the experts are calling the 5c a flop. And despite a host of real differences between the 5s and 5c, the blame is starting to settle on a familiar place.

It was the plastic.

Former Apple ad executive Ken Segall wrote in his Observatory blog on Feb. 14:

"Clearly plastic was a big part of the iPhone 5c strategy. The launch ad was entitled Plastic Perfected. The launch video featured Jony Ive explaining that iPhone 5c was 'unapologetically plastic.'

"There was a strategic plan to head off the potential negative by boldly proclaiming it as a positive.

"There was some risk there, given that Samsung's plastic Galaxy phone was often criticized for not being as substantial as iPhone.

"Unfortunately for Apple, creativity can be a double-edged sword. The 'unapologetically plastic' line in the product video was so interesting and memorable, it got played back over and over in articles about the lackluster demand for iPhone 5c. Not exactly what Apple intended."

Segall leaves it to readers to decide if the iPhone 5c was a flop because it was plastic, or because Apple highlighted plastic in the advertising — of if the real problem was that it cost only $100 less than the 5s, but came with fewer advanced features.

But that's not stopping some other bloggers and business news reporters from placing the blame on the polymers. Which is too bad, because, as writers like Chris Maxcer of TechNewsWorld have pointed out: "I don't think a svelte metal casing and fashionable design is much of an issue today — heck, most iPhone 5 or 5s owners slap an ugly case on their iPhones anyway."

So maybe the 5s was more successful because buyers figured it was a better value.

But still, it may be some time before a big consumer products company like Apple decides to highlight the fact that its product is plastic.

Loepp is editor of Plastics News and author of "The Plastics Blog."


Comments

Plastics get the blame for Apple's iPhone 5c failure

By Don Loepp
Editor

Published: February 28, 2014 12:34 pm ET
Updated: February 28, 2014 12:36 pm ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

Updating a travel icon for the professional millennial

August 29, 2014 11:44 am ET

As part of a drive to expand its customer base to include more millennials, Airstream Inc. turned to the Columbus College of Art & Design's...    More

Image

Design, materials, engineering finding a faster way forward

August 27, 2014 1:50 pm ET

Engineering and design specialists at Altair Thinklabs and Eastman Chemical Co. have developed prototypes that would not just help Paralympics...    More

Image

Higher profits and rising blood pressure

August 27, 2014 12:19 pm ET

Company CEOs are typically big supporters of capitalism and the free market, and they should be. It's a great system for raising the standard of...    More

Image

Design Stories: Young designers showing the way in adaptive design

August 27, 2014 12:12 pm ET

Amanda Bolton, then 19, decided to change her major at the University of Cincinnati from fine arts to industrial design, creating products for people ...    More

Image

Prosthetic arm concept wins in student thermoforming competition

August 22, 2014 1:56 pm ET

Pressure forming company Freetech Plastics Inc. has returned with its annual Student Thermoformed Part Competition, intended to expand the exposure of...    More

Market Reports

Thermoformed Packaging 2014 Market Review & Outlook North America

This in-depth report analyzes economic and market trends, legislative/regulatory activity impacting supply and demand, business opportunities and threats, materials pricing, manufacturing technology, as well as growth strategies being implemented by thermoformed packaging companies.

Learn more

Pipe, Profile & Tubing Extrusion in North America 2014

U.S. demand for extruded plastics is expected to grow by 3 percent in 2014, with PVC remaining the largest segment.

Plastic pipe will post the strongest gains through 2018, continuing to take market share from competing materials in a range of markets.

Our latest market report provides in-depth analysis of current trends and their financial impact on the pipe, profile and tubing extrusion industry in North America.

Learn more

2014 Injection Molding Industry Report

GROWTH, OPPORTUNITY IN SIGHT FOR INJECTION MOLDERS IN 2014

In the wake of the economic turbulence earlier in this decade, molders today find themselves in much better shape. Molders are gaining a competitive advantage by investing in people, equipment and seeking inroads into new markets on a global scale.

Growth in the injection molding industry is going to be driven by low financing costs and a continued move to reshore some business.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

September 10, 2014 - September 12, 2014Plastics Caps & Closures 2014

January 14, 2015 - January 14, 2015Plastics in Automotive

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

More Events