Apple’s iPhone 5c Will Run $549, $649 Off-Contract

Apple’s new iPhone 5c will run $549 for a 16GB and $649 for a 32GB model off contract, according to Apple’s store site.

The new iPhone will be available for pre-order on September 20th and will run $99 and $199 on contract. But it’s the off-contract pricing that has been the more interesting story with the less expensive of the two devices.

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The new iPhone has long been touted as its answer to emerging markets and those areas of the world where subsidized pricing doesn’t work. These prices are definitely along the high line of initial estimates regarding the pricing, though several independent analysts like Ben Thompson did predict a $550 range for the price.

Notably the iPhone 5c is¬†not a plastic device, it’s just coated in plastic. The steel frame inside acts as an antenna as well. However, the perception will definitely be one of a plastic phone. The internals of the device are essentially everything that’s in today’s iPhone 5 with an upgraded Facetime HD camera,¬†BlueTooth 4.0 LE and dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n radios.

Obviously this pricing, if it remains static, will require some adjustment in how people think of the device. Since it remains mostly an ‘iPhone 5’, it will likely cost Apple less to produce, making for bigger margins. But it clearly remains a device that Apple is using a very similar strategy as it has been pursuing thus far. The iPhone 4s remains its ‘cheap’ device and the iPhone 5c becomes the ‘regular iPhone’. The iPhone 5s is really taking a new high-margin, high-prestige slot.

In fact, as noted by Josh Ong at TNW, the iPhone 5c will actually run 33% more in China at $733.

For reference, the iPhone 5s will continue to run $649, $749 and $849 off-contract.