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.