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Apple launches smaller-capacity 8GB iPhone 5c in Italy, Sweden, Netherlands, Czech Republic, more

Apple has continued to slowly expand availability of its new entry-level 8-gigabyte iPhone 5c model, with the handset debuting in a number of additional countries this week, including Italy and Sweden.

Joining them were the Czech Republic, Belgium, and the Netherlands, according to LetemSvetem Applem. It's also available in Portugal, Spain, Ireland, Austria, Denmark, Finland, Hungary, and Switzerland. The new 8-gigabyte iPhone 5c expands the handset's lineup, flanking the previously available 16- and 32-gigabyte capacities.

In Italy, the 8-gigabyte iPhone 5c is available for 579 euros, which is 50 euros less than the 16-gigabyte model. In Sweden, the smaller-capacity model comes at a discount of 500 krona, while in the Czech Republic, it's 1,300 koruna cheaper than the 16-gigabyte version.

A month ago, the 8-gigabyte iPhone 5c debuted in a number of major markets including the U.K., France, China,, Germany, and Australia. It did not, however, replace the low-end iPhone 4s, which remains the company's cheapest smartphone option available.

The 8-gigabyte iPhone 5c is intended for users who aren't planning to heavily use the handset for media or applications. It ships with 4.9 gigabytes of storage available to users, with the remaining space used up by the iOS operating system and various services.

Market watchers expect the 8-gigabyte iPhone 5c, along with last month's return of the fourth-generation iPad with Retina display, as having a "slight positive" on the company's bottom line for the current June quarter.