For Apple this does pose a problem – competition from Android and even Windows 8 offers smart phones in a variety of specs for a lot less – a lot, lot less. For instance an iPhone 4 on the Apple store will set you back over £300; Android phones of similar spec can be purchased at a third of the price.
Apple is in no way unaware of this fact and rumour is they are releasing a low cost iPhone – well lower costing anyhow. According to analysts the new device will share many of the similarities of the current iPhone 5 devices, with the most cosmetic difference being it will most likely have a plastic chassis. According to iLounge, it will also share some of the characteristics of the iPod Touch and classic iPod. Of course, as of yet this is all hear ‘say.
Saying that it’s quite loud hear ‘say and has drowned out a whole host of other rumours in a way akin to the pre-release of the iPad Mini – something touted on the rumour mill for a while before it was announced. Bloomberg and The Wall Street Journal have jumped on the bandwagon too and there have been plenty of high profile financial analysts throwing in their two cents. This degree of interest would most certainly suggest something is happening, albeit what exactly we’re not sure.
Apple’s VP Eric Schiller was reported as saying that Apple will “not develop cheap smartphones in order to grab market share away.” This was revised to be somewhat vaguer soon afterwards. This leads some to believe that Apple is going to go down a similar route to that of the iPad Mini. This would mean Apple may release a cheaper iPhone, but not a cheap iPhone so to speak. The phone would still be lower in price than the mainstream model, though still give off the impression of being somewhat a luxury good.
Of course, one of the reasons Apple has to make this move is to get its place in the emerging markets. In recent months Android has really made a massive in road in many of the emerging nations, thanks to its low cost. If Apple wants to make a mark and get a share in countries such as China, Brazil, Russia or Argentina among others, it will have to compete at a lower price point.
So, will we see an iPhone 5 this year? Well, according to analysts it could be set for an autumn release or maybe even be postponed until early next year. However, with the iPad Mini trumping lager iPad sales currently, a lower priced iPhone could be a very rewarding move.
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