Apple is rumored to be working on a budget iPhone targeted at emerging markets. The device will allegedly be made of plastic and look like an iPod touch in the back and an iPhone 5 in the front. Other reports have claimed that Apple is working on multiple color variations beyond the traditional black and white.
Today a new report from Japanese publication Macotakara claims that Apple is currently testing such a device in the supply chain for production later this year.
If you want proof Apple is planning a ‘budget’ iPhone to address untapped markets, look no further than a new report which says that Apple’s suppliers are going on massive hiring sprees… and citing the imminent arrival of a new, cheaper iPhone as the cause.
Last year, electronics supply company ETrade Supply lucked out and was one of the first companies to obtain parts of the iPhone 5 before release: first the FaceTime cam, then the front panel and then the back panel.
Whatever ETrade Supply’s sources, then, they clearly have a solid connection inside Foxconn. And now that source is telling them that the ‘budget’ iPhone is a very real product.
We’ve been talking a lot about the budget iPhone in recent months, mostly in relation to the emerging market (where the vast majority of the remaining smartphone growth is expected to happen in the next five years), but here’s a question: even if Apple, as they are rumored to do, release their first plastic iPhone since the iPhone 3GS, how are they going to price it low enough to actually penetrate third-world countries where the cost of the phone might be equal to someone’s salary for the month? Especially while maintaining Apple’s customary profit margins?
The truth is, it’s almost impossible to imagine Apple being able — or interested! — in doing any such thing. Current rumor pegs the “budget” iPhone as basically an iPhone 5 with a colorful plastic shell. If those rumors are true, that’s not really a budget phone: it’s a mid-range. It has to be if Apple wants to make money off of it.
Slowly but surely, that’s the realization dawning on some people on Wall Street. The “budget” iPhone isn’t going to be budget at all. And Apple’s going to make buttloads off of it.
I really like Nikolai Lamm’s concepts for imaginary, rumored, (and possibly forthcoming) Apple products, and this transparent concept for a cheaper budget iPhone is no exception. I love how it merges the 2012 iPod touch’s candy colored backshell with the iMac G3’s transparent casing.
I think there’s little to no chance Apple would actually make an iPhone that looks like this — in the mind of Jonny Ive, transparent gadgets are so 1998, I bet — but heck, I’d buy a phone like this.
Following up on their earlier reports about the cheaper iPhone, iLounge’s Jeremy Horowitz has followed up with details about what the rumored “budget” iPhone would look like: basically, just like an iPhone 5, but with a largely plastic casing and the rounded corners of an iPod classic.
Gizmodo’s been locked out of Apple events indefinitely since they bought a stolen iPhone 4 prototype, but that doesn’t mean they are without resources to get scoops: they sent a spy into Foxconn’s new factory in Brazil, and walked out with proof that Apple will unveil a cheaper iPhone 4 sometime soon with the model N90A.
Both Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal reported that a smaller iPhone nano was in development, but now the New York Times says a shrunken iPhone is NOT on the cards.
Apple is developing a budget iPhone, the NYT says, but the device will not be any smaller than current models. Instead, it will scrimp on internal components, like memory, as we exclusively reported on Monday (More Detail On Apple’s iPhone Nano).
Keeping the iPhone nano’s screen size the same as current models makes perfect sense. Developers won’t have to code apps for different screen sizes, like they do on other platforms.
The Times did corroborate our report earlier this week, also reported in the WSJ, that Apple is planning a major overhaul of MobileMe. MobileMe will put a lot more media and files in the cloud, allowing users to stream and sync to all their devices without using cables.
The budget iPhone will make more use of voice commands, the NYT says.