Just 19% of social media conversations on launch day yesterday were positive about the 5C. The positioning and pricing of the smartphone, which comes in an array of garish colours, has been met with bemusement from some quarters. At £469 without a contract, the 5C is just £80 cheaper than the 5S.
According to We Are Social, social conversations around the launch of the 5C's higher-end sibling, the iPhone 5S, were down by 66% compared to conversations surrounding the launch of the iPhone 5.
The iPhone 5S was mentioned 585,000 times on social media sites during launch day, while the 5C garnered 343,000 mentions.
Of those conversations, the gender split was 67% male and 33% female, based on a sample of 12,637 Twitter handles. For the launch of Samsung’s Galaxy Gear, the gender split was 81% male and 19% female, implying that females are more engaged with Apple’s products than Samsung’s.
The 5S’s launch has received a markedly more positive social media response than the launch of the iPhone 5 – brand criticism of the 5S accounted for just 5% of posts, while this figure was 20% for the launch of the iPhone 5.
Contrasting starkly with the negative tone of most conversations about the 5C, 69% of conversations about the 5S were fuelled by positivity about its features and innovations, in particular the Touch ID fingerprint-recognition technology.
Ed Kitchingman, senior analyst at We Are Social, said: "With its eye-catching features and new gold casing, Apple satisfied fans that the 5S was a step forward from previous models.
"However, Apple stumbled in its first entry into the lower-cost smartphone market. The criticism of the design of the iPhone 5C was exacerbated by concern that the price is not low enough to win new markets abroad."
Accordingly, social conversations saw Apple accused of being "stuck in the middle" and producing a cheap, ugly phone, but not pricing it low enough.