Repeat slowly after me: The 5C is NOT FOR THE CHEAP MARKET
Good grief, "industry analysts" are unremittingly dumb. And shame on the journalists for parroting it.
Analysts predict that Apple will sell a cheap phone, even though Apple never sold a cheap anything. Apple then release the 5C, which is in line with every other incremental phone update they've done - the old model gets dropped by around $100. In this case, they've tried to boost sales a bit by changing the case, probably boosting their margins in the process, but mostly - surely very obviously? - so that the outgoing 5 **doesn't look the same as the 5S on the shop floor**.
When the old model was the 4S, the difference was obvious because of size. Now we have Apple's traditional per-year speed bump upgrade (3G to 3GS, 4 to 4S, 5 to 5S) and the lower end model needs a bit more differentiation. Thus, case change. Surprising? Of course not.
It's nothing new, it's nothing unexpected, it's just not what the idiot analysts were claiming would happen and despite they fact they've been completely wrong about it all, they continue to whine about Apple's phones not selling into the markets they weren't targeted for. Despite record breaking opening week sales. *Again*.
The low-middle end was not the target any more than it was the target for the 4S when the 5 was released.
When the previous gen speed bump was released (the 4S) it sold 4 million in 3 days (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IPhone_4S#Commercial_reception). When the 5 was released it sold AFAICT around 5 million in the opening weekend (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IPhone_5#Commercial_reception and Google). My response to the 5S personally was "meh", I'm sticking with my 4S; iOS 7 is fugly and buggy no matter what you run it on, so I'm in no hurry to waste money on a new handset just yet. But 9 million people, despite the relatively uninspiring new hardware, bought in. Y'all can moan about "sheeple" and so-on but Apple just keep on winning those consumer satisfaction surveys and their sales figures keep rising and rising, so more an more people are buying in and more and more people are re-buying in again, despite the very high hardware cost.
Surely Apple never expected the 5C to be a big hit in China, either. That's what the low-end still-sold 4 is intended to do. The 5C and 5S are far too expensive to be a mainstream market offering in China, so clearly, they're targeting the wealthy. The wealthy in China like shiny things. The gold has sold particularly well. News at 11.
Nobody but analysts could *possibly* be daft enough to have not understood any of this. SMH. Why does anyone ever pay them attention? They're completely wrong year in, year out, over and over. It's almost impressive that they manage to perform so consistently badly.