iPhone 5c App Store apps

It is no secret that Apple’s unapologetically plastic iPhone 5c has fallen short of Apple management’s internal projections. As an effort to revitalize flagging sales of the $549 handset, Apple’s uncharacteristically decided to run a series of new web and prints ads in places like the Tumblr blogging platform, NYTimes.com, Yahoo.com and the Rolling Stone magazine.

Apple’s game plan for the iPhone 5c now appears to include a cheaper model with just eight gigabytes of storage. According to a new rumor, the 8GB iPhone 5c is launching tomorrow, March 18, in – of all places – Germany on the Vodafone unit’s O2 network…

According to a report by Caschys Blog (Google translate) and corroborated by the German blog iFun.de, the handset is releasing as early as tomorrow as shipments of the 8GB models have arrived at carrier stores in the UK.

Engadget has gotten hold of a photo said to show the label from the 8GB iPhone 5c packaging.

8GB iPhone 5c (label packaging)

Neither report would reveal the pricing of the device, though tipsters indicate that the 8GB model will come in all of the existing iPhone 5c colors: white, blue, green, yellow and red. While the 8GB iPhone 5c could make its debut in Germany and UK, we think Apple will soon release it worldwide.

yellow iPhone 5c yellow background

It’s also fairly reasonable to assume that the handset will be a $100 cheaper when sold contract-free, which could help push more units in places like China and other emerging markets.

That being said, I’m not sure this is going to be enough to push price-minded folks into picking one up. At $449 – even at $399 – the iPhone 5c would still be out of reach of cash-strapped buyers, especially in emerging markets where most of the handsets sold are sub-$300 devices.

Besides, what happens to the iPhone 4s when the 8GB iPhone 5c debuts? As you know, the iPhone 4s is now sold for $0 with a contract, in line with Apple’s strategy of keeping past two iPhone generation on the market.

Is the iPhone 4s going to be phased out?

Will the 8GB iPhone 5c take its place instead?

As for developed markets like the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France and others, people may not simply see the point of buying what’s basically a 2012 hardware with slight modifications and encased in a plastic shell, no matter how beautiful it is.

By the way, we have no cold hard numbers on the iPhone 5c sales because Apple does not break down iPhone sales by model.

Is this move out of desperation, do you think?