Bloomberg is the latest media publication—following DigiTimes and The Wall Street Journal yesterday—to add more grist to the “low-cost iPhone is coming” mill. Bloomberg gives us more tentative availability information (late 2013) as well as an approximate price range for the device ($100-150). These rumors aren’t just getting more frequent, but also more specific which could mean that there is a little more to them than we first considered.
Apple Inc. plans to sell a smaller, cheaper version of the iPhone as soon as this year, said a person familiar with the plans, part of a push to gain customers in developing nations.
Apple, which had been working on a more affordable smartphone since at least February 2011, is weighing retail prices of $99 to $149 for a device that would debut in late 2013, at the earliest, according to the person, who asked not to be named because the negotiations are private. Apple has spoken to at least one of the top U.S. wireless carriers about its plans, the person said yesterday.
The report notes that this iPhone would use cheaper parts and come in a size smaller than “current models,” with no reference to a specific size. There are a lot of areas where Apple could cut costs, but a $99-$149 price range still sounds insane, considering the fact that Apple likes to make money off hardware. Even the iPod touch, which sports toned-down specs of the iPhone, starts at $199.
While Apple sells previous generation iPhones at reduced prices, the off-contract price is still too high as compared to low-end Android phones, which dominate the smartphone market developing countries, where there’s a huge scope of growth. Apple’s rival Samsung continues to enjoy a healthy marketshare in developing countries, thanks to its wide range of smartphone lineup available at a variety of price points.
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