Apple launches cheaper 8GB iPhone 5c

A new version of Apple's lower-end iPhone, packing less onboard storage and a price tag to match, has gone on sale across Europe.

Hot on the heels of leaked pictures purporting to show an 8GB version of the iPhone 5c, Apple has put the device on sale.

Just like the 16GB and 32GB memory versions of the iPhone 5c launched last year , the 8GB model comes with a four-inch Retina display, A6 chip, eight-megapixel camera, and 1080p video recording.

The device is now available to buy on Apple's UK website, at a cost of £429 — £40 lesss than the 16GB and £120 below the 32GB — or from its various European equivalents for around €550, around €50 less than the 16GB and €150 less than the 32GB. At the time of going to press, it wasn't showing on the US site.

UK mobile operator O2 also started selling the device today for £100 ($166) less than the 16GB model.

Would-be buyers can get the device for free with a £43-a-month two-year contract with 8GB of data and unlimited calls a month, or pay a larger upfront cost for a cheaper monthly deal. The most expensive upfront cost comes with a £13-a-month two-year plan, which gives the user 500MB of data a month and 500 call minutes. On that plan, customers will have to pay £409.99 for the device.

The 8GB iPhone 5c is showing as 'in stock' on the O2 website, in five colours. The phone is not available for outright an purchase price yet, and the device is just listed as 'coming soon' for pay as you go on the O2 website.

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8GB iPhone 5c arrives. Image: O2

On O2, the 16GB iPhone 5c is available on two-year plans with the highest upfront cost set at £509, while the outright purchase price is £469 for pay-as-you-go. The respective prices for the 32GB iPhone 5c is £620 and £549.

The difference between outright and contract prices suggest the 8GB model will cost less than £400 off contract — which is £40 more than the 8GB iPhone 4S and £80 lesss than Samsung's 32GB Galaxy S4, which is soon to be replaced by Samsung's new flagship, the Galaxy S5.

The launch of the new lower priced iPhone 5C follows lengthy speculation over the sales of the device relative to its better specced and more expensive sibling, the iPhone 5s.

Apple has never broken out sales of the iPhone 5c and iPhone 5s separately, but some analysts have estimated the iPhone 5c accounts for about a third of Apple's first quarter iPhone sales of 51 million. In the UK, market research firm Kantar World Panel ComTech estimated iPhone 5s sales were outstripping iPhone 5c sales by three to one in the middle of last year.

O2 UK's launch of the 8GB iPhone 5C followed reports yesterday of O2 Germany planning to launch a device that was around €60 cheaper than the 16GB model. The carrier has a blank placeholder for a third device on its iPhone 5c sales page.

We've asked Apple when the 8GB iPhone 5c will be released in other markets, and we'll update this story if the company responds.

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