Before the event, the entire tech press had come to the conclusion that the purpose of the 5c was to offer a more affordable version of the iPhone.
This assumption was wrong. The true role of the 5c is now clear. It was necessary because the iPhone 5 had a cost-structure that was too high to allow Apple to keep selling it with a $100 discount, as they have done with every other previous iPhone generation.
As such, they needed to engineer a tweaked iPhone 5 which could be profitably sold on as the mid-tier iPhone for 2013-2014. The 5c exists not to make the iPhone lineup move into a new price-point, but to stand in for the iPhone 5 so that Apple could continue hitting its usual price-points.
Therefore, for another cycle, Apple’s iPhone offerings are available at $450, $550, $650. Just like last year and the year before that. I’m disappointed they didn’t break the mould.