iPhone 5c Blue summer wall splash

According to the latest supply chain chatter, Apple may discontinue its unapologetically plastic handset, the iPhone 5c, by the summer of next year.

Citing people familiar with the matter, Taiwan’s Industrial and Commercial Times said Wednesday that the Cupertino firm will be phasing out the iPhone 5c around mid-2015, ostensibly because the company is pleased with high demand for the latest 4.7 and 5.5-inch iPhone 6 smartphones.

KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo recently made a similar suggestion, estimating Apple would wind down production of both the iPhone 5c and 4s in 2015 after promotional plans.

Apple typically keeps past two iPhone generations on the market in addition to the current model. Removing both the iPhone 5c and 4s in 2015 may begs the question of the iPhone 5s.

One possibility would entail making it 2015’s low-cost choice for cast-strapped buyers. Another would be to phase out the iPhone 5s in 2015, too, in which case today’s iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus would get discounted to make room for the next flagship handset, presumably the iPhone 6s.

I could also be wrong because Touch ID might be Apple’s lowest common denominator for 2015 iPhones, so the iPhone 5s might stick around until 2016. At any rate, removing older models from the lineup to focus on 4.7 and 5.5-inch devices would make developers’ life a lot easier while streamlining the product line.

Providing multiple iPhone generations to buyers widens Apple’s iPhone pricing umbrella while maximizing profits by taking advantage of economies of scale and catering to folks who are not in the market for the latest and greatest device at premium prices.

iOS 7 teaser (iPhone 5c ad 006)

Introduced in September of 2013, the iPhone 5c targets smartphone buyers who need a mid-range device. Following the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus introduction in September of this year, Apple is now selling only the eight-gigabyte iPhone 5c model, priced at $450 off-contract.

The handset features the same internals as the 2012 iPhone 5 model, sans the plastic enclosure in five colors and speedier wireless networking.

In spite of claims that iPhone 5c sales have disappointed and failed to meet Apple’s internal expectations, Kantar filed the device Britain’s best-selling handset in August 2014. Another survey found that the iPhone 5c outsold Samsung’s Galaxy S5 in the United Kingdom this summer.

What’s more, the mid-tier handset may have even outsold every BlackBerry, Windows Phone and flagship Android device in the United States during the all-important holiday quarter a year ago.

[Industrial and Commercial Times via MacRumors]