WSJ: Apple To Introduce Cheaper iPhone Later This Year [Report]

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This morning we told you about the Digitimes report that said Apple is planning to release a low-cost iPhone for emerging markets later this year. Now The Wall Street Journal is corroborating by saying “the device could come as soon as late 2013.”

Apple Inc. is working on a lower-end iPhone, according to people briefed on the matter, a big shift in strategy as its supremacy in smartphones has slipped.

While Apple has explored such a device for years, the plan has been progressing and a less expensive version of the flagship device could launch as soon as later this year, one of the people said.

Expect this cheaper iPhone to sport “a different, less-expensive body.” Instead of a metallic exterior, Apple will most likely use a polycarbonate plastic casing to keep costs down.

Digitimes has also said that this cheaper iPhone will feature a larger display and different exterior design. Coincidentally, iLounge Editor-in-Chief Jeremy Horwitz also tweeted about an upcoming “budget iPhone model” today. A lowered price tag would presumably help Apple’s growth in areas like China, where iPhones usually cost more for customers to purchase up front.

In the United States, Apple sells the iPhone 4 for $0 with a two-year carrier contract. The 4S is currently offered for $100 less than the top-of-the-line model, the iPhone 5. The cheaper iPhone reported by the Journal would be a distinct offshoot of the current iPhone family. Apple would be breaking the formula it has stuck to since 2007.

Rumors of a cheaper, “budget” iPhone have been swirling for years. Such a device has been on the table since as early as 2009, according to today’s report. With new management, a stronger supply chain, pressure from competitors, and unprecedented international growth, it looks like 2013 could very well be the year Apple decides to diversify its iPhone lineup.

Source: The Wall Street Journal