The problem with the 5C, though, is that it wasn’t an iPhone. Well, technically it was — it was made by Apple, after all — but particularly in Asia, and especially in China, an iPhone is about more than even the hardware and software that Apple is so proud of integrating. It is the device to own for emerging upper middle class consumers, and what is brilliant about the sell-old-flagship-iPhones strategy is that it allows the cheaper iPhones to punch above their weight: after all, that iPhone 5S you pull out of your pocket and casually place on the table may be brand new today (because you can only afford $450), or you may simply have not yet replaced the iPhone you bought at full price when it came out. Regardless, you have a flagship; the 5C, on the other hand, was from day one not the flagship, and quite obvious about it (one is reminded of Jony Ive calling it “unapologetically plastic”). To buy a 5C was to show you couldn’t afford a better one.