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Unreleased prototypes said to back prospect of cheap iPhone

updated 10:39 am EST, Mon February 11, 2013

Apple allegedly testing different sizes

Late December research by his firm "uncovered iPhones in different screen sizes for potential launch in May/June, allowing Apple to better bifurcate the market and pave the way for a lower-priced iPhone," claims Topeka Capital Markets analyst Brian White. In a new memo he argues that June would be the actual earliest launch date for a cheap iPhone, and that Apple could use a name such as "iPhone mini" or "iPhone Air," since it's believed that the hardware will use a lightweight plastic enclosure.

"We believe a $250 to $300 price point for a lower-priced iPhone would make sense and [be] 58% below the $649 price point for an unlocked 16GB iPhone 5," White continues. "A $250-$300 price range would also be competitive with China-based Xiaomi that offers a high-end phone experience at a mid- range price of ~$320 in Chinas." He notes that even if the phone generated 10 to 15 points less profit margin than current iPhones, it would still let Apple reach untapped markets in Brazil, Russia, India, and China, where the pricetag of an iPhone is often out of reach.

"For example, we estimate that Apple was unable to address at least 60% of the smartphone market in 2012 (not to mention the feature phone market) due to the high price point of the iPhone," he says, "while we believe a high percentage of the annual smartphone unit growth of 688 million between 2012 and 2016 units (i.e., from 717.5 million to 1.4 billion) as estimated by IDC, will be outside of the high end market."

While nothing concrete has emerged on how Apple might scale back a cheap iPhone, White suggests several possibilities. Among these are a cheaper display, less storage, a slower processor, scaled-back wireless support, and/or a cheaper camera. Casing, though, is expected to be a focus. "The case would be an interesting area of cost savings with a lower priced material (e.g., plastic) versus the aluminum unibody casing on the iPhone 5, while adding colors to excite consumers," White comments.

by MacNN Staff




  1. climacs

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: 09-06-01

    maybe... or not

    there's plenty of examples of Apple testing prototypes which never came to market. The 3G-capable MBP for example.

  1. Jeronimo2000

    Forum Regular

    Joined: 08-20-01

    Unreleased prototypes

    "Unreleased prototypes said to back prospect..." - ah, as opposed to all those *released* prototypes? :)

    Anyway, here's a quote that shows the failed logic of this whole "cheap iPhone" pipedream: this analyst nut claims that "For example, we estimate that Apple was unable to address at least 60% of the smartphone market in 2012..." - well, if that means that they own 40% of the market, that's one brilliant way of putting it.

    In an unrelated note, BMW repeatedly fails to address at least 88% of the premium car market. This must mean they are about to release a $9000 limousine.

  1. jpellino

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 10-29-99

    I bet it's already here...

    If I had to predict, I'd say the 5G Touch is the platform for a cheaper iPhone.

  1. wrenchy

    Forum Regular

    Joined: 11-03-09

    Cheap iPhone, will the tactic work?

    Not sure if this is the answer as Apple is bleeding away marketshare and losing the hearts and minds of it faithful followers.

    Apple needs to tear down it's walled garden and give the people what they want. Choice.

    I and many others will stay with Android... at any price point.

  1. Arne_Saknussemm

    Forum Regular

    Joined: 04-05-11

    Not sure if a "cheap iPhone" will do good to Apple...

    But it would surely destroy many fanboi's hearts that believe the coolest gadget is always the most expensive...


    Hi sock puppet master! Don't you miss your iBoy downvoting here? I sure do, but at least they got the old comment system back

  1. wrenchy

    Forum Regular

    Joined: 11-03-09

    Hey Arne!

    The old comment system is alright,but yes, I really miss all my down votes. Some iFans will still stay with Apple but the enlightened ones will jump ship to Android as soon as they realize the wool that has been pulled over their eyes.

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