Analyst: Apple May Release An Unlocked iPhone 4S For $349 For Prepaid Markets Along With iPhone 5 In September

iPhone 5

We’ve heard conflicting reports about next generation iPhone’s form factor so far. According to some reports, next generation iPhone will be completely redesigned and will look more like iPod Touch 4G rather than iPhone 4. While, some reports claim that fifth generation iPhone will come with improved specifications such as faster processor, 8-megapixel camera etc., but won’t feature an all-new design and will look like iPhone 4.

It is speculated that if the new iPhone is completely redesigned, it will be called iPhone 5, while the one with the specs bump will be called iPhone 4S just like iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS.

Fortune reports that according to Deutsche Bank’s analyst Chris Whitmore, Apple may release both iPhone 5 and iPhone 4S later this year.

“With Nokia and RIMM struggling,” he writes, “the time is right for Apple to aggressively penetrate the mid range smart-phone market (i.e. $300-500 category) to dramatically expand its [total addressable market] and market share.”

As Whitmore sees it, an iPhone 4S that is unlocked, priced around $349, and comes with a pre-paid voice plan would “drive significantly greater penetration” into an addressable market that has grown to include 1.5 billion potential customers in 98 countries, two thirds of whom prefer pre-paid plans.

According to Whitmore, the $349 unlocked iPhone 4S will help Apple penetrate markets like Asia, Africa and Latin America where the iPhone penetration is low, as users in these countries prefer prepaid plans (as seen below).

This is not the first time we’ve heard possibilities of a cheaper iPhone. We’ve heard several rumors and speculations since the iPhone has been launched, that Apple is working on a cheaper iPhone. However, these rumors have also suggested that the cheaper iPhone will be smaller.

Fortune also reports that according to a report by Morgan Stanley’s analyst Katy Huberty, the new iPhones will arrive only by late September.

A $349 unlocked iPhone 4S for prepaid markets sounds like a good idea. Let us know what do you think about the possibility of the release of iPhone 5 and iPhone 4S in the comments section below.

[via Fortune]