An Apple for the masses

March 18, 2014 06:07 AM

Apple Inc. is selling a new, cheaper version of the iPhone 5c with less memory in the U.K., France, Germany, Australia and China.

The latest iPhone 5c has 8 gigabytes and is priced at 429 pounds ($712) without a contract, compared with 469 pounds for the 16-gigabyte model, according to Apple’s U.K. store. The Cupertino, California-based company isn’t yet offering this version of the 5c in the U.S.

Apple introduced the plastic-cased iPhone 5c last year in a bid to capture more budget-conscious smartphone buyers. Customers have instead favored the higher-end 5s model with a more powerful processor, sharper camera and fingerprint reader. In countries where wireless subsidies aren’t common, the full price of the iPhone 5C has held back sales, according to Brian Marshall, an analyst at ISI Group.

The new iPhone 5c is being sold for 4,088 yuan ($660) on Apple’s online store in China, the world’s biggest handset market. China Mobile Ltd., the No. 1 carrier, began selling iPhones in January after six years of negotiations as both seek to stem declining share there.

Apple also updated its least expensive full-size iPad, adding better cameras and a faster chip to its $399 model to compete with products using Google Inc.’s Android software.

The fourth-generation iPad, with a 9.7-inch Retina display, has an A6X chip designed by Apple and a 5-megapixel camera for video chats, Apple said in a statement today.

The iPhone is Apple’s most important product, accounting for more than half of revenue in the latest fiscal year. To hold off rivals and gain market share, Apple will have to add more affordable offerings, Marshall wrote in a report yesterday.

Apple shares rose less than 1 percent to $528.92 at 10:33 a.m. in New York. The stock is down 6.1 percent so far this year though yesterday, compared with a 0.6 percent gain in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.

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