Apple explores possibility of cheaper iPhone… again

by Kenny Hemphill on January 9, 2013

Apple plans to release a cheaper version of the iPhone 5, according to the Wall St Journal. The Journal, citing ‘people briefed in the matter’, reported that ‘the plan is progressing and a less expensive version of its flagship device could launch later this year.’

That plan, apparently, involves an iPhone which would resemble ‘the standard iPhone, with a different, less-expensive body.’ One made of polycarbonite rather than aluminium, perhaps. And other parts, said the Journal ‘could remain the same or be recycled from older iPhone models.’

This isn’t the first time we’ve heard that a less expensive iPhone may be on the way. The WSJ itself reported two years ago that Apple was considering a nano version of the iPhone. Those plans, according to yesterday’s report were scrapped because ‘some executives worried a second iPhone would complicate its manufacturing processes. The company decided to keep older iPhone models on sale for less, a strategy that didn’t require designing new products.’

The smartphone market has changed considerably in the last two years, however. In 2012 Apple lost market share to Samsung, according to IDC. And while Apple doesn’t have a history of chasing market share, the launch of the iPad mini last year indicated that it is prepared to complicate the manufacturing process and add to the product line-up when it sees a commercial opportunity.

A less expensive iPhone may be just such an opportunity.

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