Apple is working on a cheaper iPhone that could be launched by late-2013, WSJ reported moments ago. While rumors of a cheaper iPhone have been around since the iPhone itself, it would be very unlike Apple to launch a “cheap” product but this could be one of the key transitions in philosophy under Tim Cook’s regime. Also Read - Yet more high resolution photos of alleged iPhone 5C's casing spotted in greenAlso Read - High resolution photos of alleged iPhone 5C’s back panel surface online yet again
While the iPhone has been a runaway success for the Cupertino-based company, its sales have been dwarfed by Samsung, which also became the world’s larget smartphone vendor last year. Samsung sold 500 phones every minute in 2012 and has been estimated to sell as many as 390 million smartphones this year and a total of 510 million phones in all. Also Read - Purported iPad 5 and iPhone 5C plastic shells leak yet again
Apple has avoided launching a cheaper version of the iPhone and has always cut the price of its older generation iPhones that become the entry-level iPhone. At the moment, Apple sells the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S along with the iPhone 5. However, that strategy does not work in emerging markets where carriers do not subsidize phones. While it is easy to get an iPhone for free on a two-year contract in North America and Europe, the strategy fails in countries like India, where a user has to pay as much as Rs 26,500 for the iPhone 4, which is a two-year old product. In contrast, users can buy the latest Galaxy S III from Samsung for less than Rs 32,000 when the iPhone 4S costs as much as Rs 38,500.
Analysts have been talking about the importance of a cheaper iPhone for countries where carrier subsidies do not work and probably it has dawned on Cook & Co that if it wants to dominate the space it would have no option but to launch multiple variants of the iPhone. It has been rumored in the past that Apple might cut the iPhone launch cycle from 12 months to 6 months. Other rumors have suggested that Apple could launch new iPhones with different screen sizes.
But things have certainly changed under Cook as Apple announced the iPad mini – a smaller, affordable variant of the iPad – late last year that has proven to be a success in the market. But this goes against Apple under Steve Jobs that prioritized profit margins over sales volumes. As they say, it is never over till the fat lady sings and in this case we would have to wait till Tim Cook officially announces the product.
Photo Credit: Eshan Shetty