Apple Already In Carrier Talks Over Budget iPhone, Will Cost Around $99 [Report]

Apple iPhone

Rumors surrounding an upcoming low-cost iPhone have really taken off this week, with The Wall Street Journal reporting on Tuesday that the device could make its debut before the end of 2013. Now Bloomberg is corroborating that with information from its own sources, who say Apple is already discussing the device with at least one of the major U.S. carriers. They also claim that the handset will cost between $99 and $149 when it launches.

Like the Journal, and indeed Digitimes, Bloomberg reports that the budget iPhone will launch “as soon as this year,” according to sources familiar which Apple’s plans who chose not to be named. The device will be part of a push to attract customers in developing nations, but will also be made available in the U.S. and other developed markets.

Apple is said to be “weighing retail prices of $99 to $149 for a device that would debut in late 2013, at the earliest,” Bloomberg reports, and the company has already “spoken to at least one of the top U.S. wireless carriers about its plans.”

It’s thought that a more affordable iPhone from Apple will help the Cupertino keep up with rivals like Samsung and other Android smartphone vendors, who offer a range of devices, some of which are low-cost for budget-minded consumers. Samsung is already in front of Apple when it comes to smartphone market share, and it’s predicted that the Korean company will further increase its lead if Apple cannot cater to the lower end of the market.

However, introducing a budget iPhone would be a massive change of strategy for Apple, a company that has never catered to budget-conscious customers before. Its products have traditionally utilized premium materials and components, and indeed premium price tags. The closest we’ve got to a low-cost iPhone so far is a cut-price iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS.

To make a cheaper iPhone, Apple would need to use cheaper parts and materials, and maybe make it smaller than existing models.

  • FriarNurgle

    Stupid rumor is stupid.

  • branjmb

    everrrryyy year…..

    i don’t get why the hell they don’t consider the 4 and 4S the BUDGET phones… you can get the 4 for free for crying out loud.

  • Huntress

    So Apple is getting into the bargin basement now? Anything to make more sales. Wonder what Jobs would have said about this….

  • HerbalEd

    Just because a product is less expensive doesn’t necessarily mean it will be crap quality. Apple already makes different levels of the same products …. e.g., MacBook Air vs high-end MacBook Pro.

    If indeed Apple does produce a “cheaper” (i.e., less expensive) iPhone I’d bet it will be higher quality than it’s competitors’ counterparts.

  • extra_medium

    Its funny how everyone is so up in arms about a budget iPhone when just a few months back everyone was convinced that the iPad mini was going to be $199. And they were happy about it.

    I guess its OK for a product to be more affordable as long as you want one?

  • innocentsmith

    question: Are they suggesting $99-$149 retail, or that after signing a 2-year contract? If the latter, I really don’t see what the point would be, since, as someone already said, they sell last year’s model for that, and also, saving $50-100 on the front end is really nothing compared to what you pay in service for the life of the phone, so who really feels like they get a great deal getting an inferior product?

    Say you pay about $70/month for the phone: That’s about $1880 ($1680 for service+$200 for phone), compared to about $1780 ($1680+100 for phone). That doesn’t seem like a great deal.

    Now if it really was the price off-contract, that would be great!

  • iSteve

    Why produce low-cost iPhones when previous models (iPhone 4 or 3GS) can be used!

    Apple is the company who sets benchmarks that others follow. Period!

  • TylerHoj

    I just bought a PREPAID iPhone 4S for $300 here in Canada. At $300[granted it was $175 off] for an unlocked, non-contracted brand new phone, this ‘budget’ iPhone seems unlikely. Apple didn’t create a ‘budget’ iPad when they launched the iPad mini. If anything we’ll see a condensed version of the iPhone, that doesn’t attempt to hit a smaller price bracket but is relatively cheaper because of its last-gen components.

About the author

Killian BellKillian Bell is a staff writer based in the U.K. He has an interest in all things tech and also covers Android over at CultofAndroid.com. You can follow him on Twitter via @killianbell.

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