Apple products have long been synonymous with the word ‘premium’ – a factor that has kept them beyond reach of several pockets. All that is set to change this year, though, if a report by the Wall Street Journal is to be believed.
The report suggests that according to sources close to Apple, there indeed is a lower-end iPhone in the making. This isn't the first time that news about a lesser expensive iPhone has surfaced. In November last year, there were reports about Apple being in plans of launching a cheaper handset for markets like India and China, which could then become big markets for the company's products.
May be coming this year
The iPhone 5's success is undeniable as five million handsets were sold in the first weekend of its launch. The handset has been selling pretty well in India too and the initial batch had sold out almost immediately. However, India is a tiny market for the Apple iPhone as it is priced considerably higher than its rivals. Analyst Gene Munster had, at the time, suggested that a less expensive version of the iPhone, roughly in the region of $200, will be launched by Apple in 2014. However, WSJ reports that according to sources close to Apple, the device in question may be here later this year.
Elaborating on what one could expect from the cheaper iPhone, the report quotes one of the people as saying that it would be similar in appearance to the standard iPhone, albeit with a 'different, less expensive body'. The company reportedly is also toying with the idea of reducing the cost of the smartphone by going for a different shell made of polycarbonate plastic. Interestingly, of what is known at the moment, other parts on the cheaper iPhone could be the same or be recycled from the previous iPhone models. All that being said, the report notes that the company may decide to not go with the plan altogether.
Apple does sell handsets cheaper than the iPhone 5 in India, but they are previous generation models and the price of the iPhone 4S is at par with flagship devices from other brands.
If Apple does intend to stay competitive in the Indian market, the brand will need to launch a budget handset and not an older handset with a lower price tag.
However, Apple does not sell budget products and has never succumbed to the pressure of lowering its prices to match that of the competition.
An ideal example is the iPad mini. This 7.9-inch tablet was expected to debut at a price point of around $200 to $250. But this did not materialise and the launched product was significantly costlier than the Nexus 7 and the Amazon Kindle Fire.
Apple has proved in the past that it can be successful with its devices even if it is pricier than the competition. But with the competition offering great products at cheaper costs, how long will Apple be able to keep this up is a big question. Hence, a cheaper new iPhone could be a good solution for users in India and China.