Apple has done this with the iPod line multiple times, making a lower cost option to lead customers up to some of the more premium devices. Apple didn’t really create a new product line with the iPods, but it did have smaller and cheaper options such as the iPod nano and iPod shuffle, with premium options such as the iPod classic and the iPod touch. This is still true today, except the iPod touch is much more like the iPhone than ever before.
This is the same thing that Apple has done with the iPhone 5c, introducing a cheaper plastic model to accompany the iPhone 5s during its annual refresh.
The 5c did not sell well during the first several weeks, but according to a report from analytics firm Localytics, the sales gap between the iPhone 5s and the iPhone 5c is narrowing everyday. This makes sense as customers begin to think about the iPhone 5c as a viable option, especially if they don’t really care about the new features of the 5s.
It’s not like the design of the iPhone 5c is terrible compared to the iPhone 5s. The 5c’s plastic frame is very solid and has just the right amount of weight, making it feel like an Apple-quality device. The iPhone 5c offers customers a reasonable amount of power, good battery life, and a great set of cameras for a decent price. That makes it a great stepping stone to the higher quality, all-metal and glass iPhone 5s. The 5s packs quite a punch with its A7 chip, 8 megapixel camera, and Touch ID, and that makes it the perfect candidate for Apple’s high-end iPhone.
From here on out, Apple will always be updating the iPhone 5c alongside the higher-end iPhone. It will be using it as a stepping stone to the iPhone 6 and all of the others that they release in the future. Ultimately, the iPhone 5c is great marketing for the iPhone 5s, and it makes sense that both are selling very well.