Would Steve Jobs approve the colorful, plastic, low-cost iPhone 5C?

iphone 5c

Ever since the death of Steve Jobs, media (news media as well as social media) attention on even minute details of Apple’s product launches have been at an all time high & tech reporters have been running rumor mills throughout the year like there is no tomorrow. In such a context, it is understandable that “selection bias” creeps in and the power of social media leads to further magnification of it. For example, after the launch of the iPhone 5C, the following points have been strongly raised especially in the social media:

1) Steve Jobs, with focus on simplicity & minimalism, would never approve colors in iPhone since it clutters the product portfolio.

2) Steve Jobs would never approve plastic in an Apple product.

3) Steve Jobs would never launch a low cost alternative since it diminishes Apple’s value as a premium brand.

Lets check the history of his approved projects with a fact based logical analysis (to avoid selection bias) and find out if the iPhone 5C aligns with Steve Jobs vision.

1) Steve Jobs & colors:

Steve Jobs was a big fan of colors. When Steve returned to Apple in 1997 to revive the struggling company, one of the boldest decisions he undertook was that of introducing new iMacs in colors and it paid off pretty well. Computers which were considered geeky become consumer electronics devices overnight, thanks to the colorful iMacs & it’s ease of setup to connect to the internet. Similarly, Steve launched most of the flagship products in multiple colors, a snapshot of the launches as follows

Steve Jobs launching colorful iMac:
steve imac

Steve Jobs launching colorful iBook:
steve ibook

Steve Jobs launching colorful iPod nano:
steve jobs ipod nano colors

Steve Jobs launching colorful iPod shuffle:
steve jobs ipod shuffle colors

Steve Jobs launching colorful iPod nano 6G:
steve jobs ipod nano 6g colors

All the 6 generations of iPod nano, 3 generations of iPod shuffle, the latest generation iPod touch were launched in multiple colors. So, claiming that multiple colors are not part of Apple’s DNA would be a misconception. It was high time the iPhone became colorful like the iPods.

2) Steve Jobs & Plastic:

Although Steve Jobs was fascinated with metal & glass, he was never against plastic, especially if it could bring down costs. But he would ensure that the devices would still feel good in one’s hands and instill confidence due to it’s build quality.

Here are a few plastic products launched by Steve Jobs in the past:


3) Steve Jobs & low cost:

Contrary to the popular belief, it was never Steve’s vision to make Apple a niche or premium company like BMW or Porsche. He wanted it to be a company which would make great products (Recollect his slogans like “Computers for the rest of us”) which he and his engineers would recommended to their family & friends.
Here is a short video clip where he shares his vision:

If he wanted his products to reach only the rich, then he would have never launched low cost variants of iPods, Apple TV or student friendly iPod Touch.

steve jobs prices

Low priced iPod shuffle for $49 & iPod Touch for $199 have boosted sales especially among students.

Considering these past product launches by Steve Jobs himself, I think he would have definitely approved this colorful, plastic & low-cost iPhone 5C as it perfectly aligns with his vision, and such attributes (of colorful product portfolio, plastic & low cost version to expand reach) have always been a part of his strategies.