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Apple’s plastic iPhone experiment looks like it’s failing

Reuters/Stephen Lam
Apple’s new iPhone 5Cs look so good on display that customers are just leaving them there.
By Roberto A. Ferdman
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

Well that didn’t take long. Just 30 days after rolling out a cheaper, plastic-cased version of its flagship smartphone, Apple is reportedly backtracking.

Apple is cutting production of its new iPhone 5C in half, according to a report released by Chinese tech site C Technology (link in Chinese). The report says the company will slash its current 300,000 unit-a-day pace to 150,000.

There’s been no official word on why Apple would scale back so quickly on the manufacturing of the 5C, but if the report proves accurate, chances are it’s due to massively disappointing demand for the cheap phone. Two weeks after its release, 5C sales were already pacing far behind Apple’s other new phone, the pricier 5S. In China, the world’s largest smartphone market, the discrepancy in demand for Apple’s two new phones has been even more pronounced. That has forced Chinese retailers to sell the 5C at even deeper discounts.

Tellingly, there’s no delay to order a 5C on Apple’s own website; meanwhile, the new 5S, the company warns, is on back order. That’s a stark contrast with previous iPhone launches, which proved so popular that customers happily waited a month or more for their orders to materialize after the phone’s release.

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