In a research note posted today, Topeka Capital analyst Brian White says that Apple’s on its way to release a cheaper iPhone within this year, “possibly as early as June.”
Contrary to earlier reports that said the price of such a device would be as low as $99, White says that Apple would price the device in the $250-$350 bracket. This is nearly half the price of an unsubsidised iPhone 5 and at least $100 cheaper than iPhone 4, which is cheapest iPhone that is available for $450 without a contract.
From White’s note:
A $250-$300 price range would also be competitive with China-based Xiaomi that offers a high-end phone experience at a mid-range price of ~$320 in China. We believe a $250-to-$300 price point will allow Apple to significantly expand its reach in the smartphone market and better address developing markets such as China, while opening up more opportunities in Brazil, Russia, India and elsewhere.
He believes that the name of such a device could be “iPhone mini” or “iPhone Air” and would have a plastic body instead of a metallic one to reduce costs. He adds that a cheaper iPhone would be an important factor in determining how Apple’s relationship with China Mobile, the world’s largest carrier, plays out.
Additionally, White claims that Apple’s also testing iPhone prototypes with various screen sizes, which has been the subject of a lot of speculation in the past few months. White’s claims are largely in line with earlier rumors that said that a cheaper iPhone could be released in the second half of 2013, and would forgo the use of aluminium for the chasis to cut down on costs.