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Apple introduces cheaper iPhone 5C

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(CNN) - Sales of the colorful, plastic iPhone 5C have been below the company's expectations, and CEO Tim Cook acknowledged in January that Apple (AAPL, Fortune 500) misjudged demand for it. As a result, Apple unveiled an 8 GB version of the iPhone 5C on Tuesday in an attempt to boost consumer interest.

The 8 GB edition will only be available in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Australia and China, Apple told CNNMoney.

In England, the 8 GB version was selling for £429, ($711), slightly cheaper than the 16 GB version, which sells for £469, or $778. Customers in England are unable to purchase a subsidized iPhone from Apple.

The 16 GB iPhone 5C sells for $100 with a two-year contract in the U.S. An unsubsidized 16 GB iPhone 5C purchased directly sells for $549.

Apple also sells an 8 GB version of the two-year old iPhone 4S in the U.S. for free with a new two-year contract.

Many analysts had expected the iPhone 5C to be a low-cost smartphone aimed at the Chinese market. In fact, its price was consistent with previous "last-generation" smartphones that Apple has sold, and its plastic shell was designed to help Apple improveits declining profit margins. But the higher-than-expected price has scared off many potential Chinese customers.

Still, it's unclear just how much demand Apple can muster up for a smartphone that hasn't proven particularly popular at any price point. In an attempt to clear out inventory, Wal-Mart (WMT, Fortune 500) recently slashed the 16 GB iPhone 5C price to just $27 with a new two-year contract.

Also on Tuesday, Apple brought back the fourth-generation iPad with Retina display, a tablet that was replaced by the thinner iPad Air in October. While bringing back the fourth-generation iPad, Apple finally stopped selling the iPad 2 -- a tablet that has been on the market since 2011.

The fourth-gen iPad will only be available with 16 GB of storage, but it will start at $399 -- the same price for which Apple was selling the less-capable iPad 2. 


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