The WSJ and now Bloomberg are both pumping out new rumors suggesting Apple might be working on a lower-tier smartphone to go alongside its flagship (currently iPhone 5) model.
Now, this isn’t the first time that we’ve heard rumors like this, with the earliest rumors about a low-end iPhone going back to February of 2011. So what has changed to bring this news back? Nothing, at least not that we are aware of.
Apple is a premium brand, love it or hate it. They don’t cater to the low-end market and I honestly can’t see them releasing such a handset in Europe or North America. Sure, the iPad Mini is a cheaper iPad, but in reality it is a very expensive device for a 7-incher.
The latest rumor claims that such a budget iPhone could cost as little as $100-$150.
Now Bloomberg doesn’t indicate whether that’s subsidized or not, but if it is the outright price– let’s just say that is pretty much impossible unless Apple makes some major concessions such as going with a Chinese chipset instead of its own, going all plastic, etc.
That said, it isn’t impossible that Apple could consider something like this for developing markets, such as China. The company continues to attempt to push into the Chinese market, realizing there is a lot of potential money to be made here.
Unfortunately, not all Chinese customers can afford the iPhone 5 or even the older iPhone 4S or 4.
Having a plastic-body iPhone for the Chinese market that runs on Chinese standard parts wouldn’t be that strange. It still probably wouldn’t hit the $150 outright price point, but $200-$250 would certainly become possible.
Still, it’s hard to see Apple catering to the low-end after all the work they’ve done to establish themselves a premium (read: over-priced?) brand. What do you think, would a lower-end iPhone targeted towards the developing world be a wise move for Apple or do you think there is no way in hell Apple would do this?