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.