Apple working on cheaper iPhone: Report

Apple working on cheaper iPhone: Report

Summary: Apple is reportedly working on a cheaper iPhone to appeal to the cost-conscious section of the market.

TOPICS: Apple, iPhone

Technology giant Apple is reportedly developing a new, cheaper iPhone for launch later this year, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Apple hasn't confirmed the plan, but the Journal reported that the Cupertino-based company is looking at producing a less-expensive iPhone using a less expensive body, possibly made out of polycarbonate plastic instead of the aluminium case used for the iPhone 5. The report also speculates that the rest of the phone could be made up of recycled parts from older iPhone models.

It would be a major shift for the company, which has traditionally offered only one new model to the market with each update, but comes after Apple's smartphone market share began shrinking during the last few years with the rise of Android. Although, the latest report from Kantar Worldpanel Comtech showed that in the four months to November 25th, Apple picked up 53.3 percent of US smartphone sales on the back of the iPhone 5. The numbers weren't so good for Apple in Australia, with 35.9 percent in for iOS and 58 percent for Android in the same period.

The iPhone 5 currently retails in Australia from AU$799. It currently sells in the US for $199 with a two-year wireless contract and $730 for an unlocked phone.

A less expensive iPhone would come close to a year after Apple changed tack on the iPad; releasing an iPad Mini (starting at AU$369, US$329) to complement the larger, more expensive iPad that starts at AU$539 US $499.

The report comes while Apple CEO Tim Cook is in China, for reasons not yet explained by the company, though it is rumoured that he is looking to expand Apple's retail presence and iPhone 5 availability in the country.

Topics: Apple, iPhone


Armed with a degree in Computer Science and a Masters in Journalism, Josh keeps a close eye on the telecommunications industry, the National Broadband Network, and all the goings on in government IT.

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    "Apple" and "cheaper" are two words you do not see in the same sentence.

    And polycarbonate plastic?? The same stuff that those cases are made of, to try to protect your delicate I-devices from scratches and dents, and hide the scratches and dents they've already picked up? The same stuff that most Android phones are made of anyway, which makes them resistant to the need for such cases in the first place?

    Yet another instance of where Android leads, Apple follows...
    • Leads?

      How exactly does Android, a software, being installed on a device made of polycarbonate (hardware) make Android a leader?

      That's like saying Bruno Mars is a leader in the stereo business because his songs get played on the radio.
      • Grow up

        You're a fool if you didn't realise that by saying "Android" in that context he meant "Android devices".
        People type fast and often don't use the perfect grammar, but if you have a brain you can figure out what their intent is instead of being a d1ck about it.
      • Re: make Android a leader?

        The fact that Apple follows, of course. That's what makes Android the leader.

        And if you want to nitpick, Apple isn't "a software" either.
  • Paradox!!!

    Apple and Cheap
    Apple and Plastic

    If this turns to be true that only means that Apple is too scared of where the market shifts. But that's unlikely!
  • Smartsung

    The cheap smartphone is not only for the cost-conscious but for the customers new to the (smart)phone world: the first mobile a young teenager gets might not need to be a complex/pricy iphone.

    Samsung identified this
    Agnès Meyer
    • half right

      Samdung makes cheap crap that falls apart right after the warranty expires. That is why they can sell their stuff cheap. The sad part is that they follow the same mentality with the expensive stuff too. I would avoid Samdung if you want your stuff to last past the warranty period.
      • Apples aren't forever

        Drop an iPhone, and you can lose your front screen and/or the back glass (on 4's). I have several friends who've had iPhone screens break from short drops. Yes, it can happen with others too, but the point is that iPods break too. The only advantage of the iPhone is IF you take very good care of it, you can sell it for about as much as the subsidized cost of a new one. Why? I have no idea. But I've also got an hold HTC Diamond that works after years of service and countless drops.

        The reality is unless you're on a cheap prepaid plan, you should upgrade every time your contract is up. You're paying for the new phone whether you buy it or not.
  • Apples Arrogance ...

    Frequently hypocritical, this is laughable. A Cheap Plastic iPhone? If true, there's a massive number of fanboys losing sleep over this news LOL
    • And "angry" fanboys as well

      Don't forget ... the fanboys (and girls) will be angry as well, since they paid 2 to 3 times what the new, faster, better, CHEAPER iPhoneCheap will cost.
  • The First 3 iPhones had plastic

    I would Love an iPhone but they are way too expensive for me. Heck, I had to save up just to get an iPad 2! Believe it or not there are people in Oz who are on lower wages. A 3,4 4s are great but there not a New item. Apple made an iPad mini. It's even cheaper than the 2. So, fingers crossed, they bring out a slightly cheaper New phone for us less wealthier people. Unlocked with a pay as you go card yippee! I have a free phone from Telstra but its creepy, sticky, crashes & freezes. It's yucky.
    Wanda Jackson
    • "yucky" is a new technical term?

      Let's grow up here, OK?
      • 'Yucky' 'Creepy' and 'Icky'

        These are all techincal terms, as are thingamabob, dober, whatchacallit.
      • Lets grow up? Ha!

        With all the crazy product bashing around here its kind of hard to ask someone to "grow up" because they say "yucky".
      • Judge Much?

        I respect Wanda for her opinion, overall post and willingness to share something that was well written and concise.

        Yucky is a word and it was well used in my opinion.
        Allenric Amaranth
  • so take a 50% profit margin instead of 70

    Whatever, apple
  • Apple working on cheaper iPhone: Report

    Won't happen, cheaper iPhones will cut into the profit of the new iPhones just like the iPad mini did with the new iPad.
  • HA! Try again, Apple!

    Too little too late, Apple. Your (slightly) cheaper iPhone still won't sell for $50 like my Motorola DROID RAZR M, which has a SOLID Kevlar body, spillproof design, longer lasting battery, microSD slot, and available fully functioning vehicle dock.
    • Storage?

      BTW, how much (internal) storage (read: non-upgradable since there will never be a microSD slot in an iPhone) will this bad plastic boy have? 4 GB? Oooh!
      • Your probably right.

        One of Apples downfalls has been lack of ease of upgrade in many of their products. I know I have heard many people say its largely because Apple wants you to buy bigger and better from them, not stick with an old product of theirs longer because you bought an inexpensive upgrade part from someone else.

        True or not, it ends up being the way your forced to do it quite often.

        Example, if you think in a year or 2 you might want the 27"screen for your iMac, better buy it now because if you get the 21.5, theres no going out and just getting a screen upgrade. Want one of their devices with more onboard memory? No upgrading...just get the whole device again.

        "For me", just one of the reasons why I personally would have nothing to do with a Mac. I have an iPod and iPhone, I'll live with the restriction there, for now, but when it comes to my computer, Im not about to have Apple make all my hardware decisions for me.