Apple: Low-end iPhone needs to be 'category-killer experience'

Apple execs don't seem to be keen on releasing a more budget-friendly iPhone unless it can wipe out the competition.

Although there have been many, many rumors for months about the iPhone 5, one that seemed to stick out was the story that Apple is planning to release an unprecedented two iPhone models this year: the fifth-generation of the traditional iPhone as well as a lower-end model. It could even be as low as a pay-as-you go device like the recent Motorola Triumph for Virgin Mobile.

However, based on a conversation between RBC Capital’s Mike Abramsky with Apple’s COO Tim Cook and CFO Peter Oppenheimer, Barron's reports that "Apple’s primary criterion for launching a lower-end iPhone is an innovative, category-killer experience."

This could hint at a number of things. Either Apple was actually already considering developing a low-end iPhone, or it just heard about the rumors like everyone else and still mulled over the concept. However, it does not sound like anything is actually in development yet. It is possible we could see a low-end iPhone in the future, but it is more likely that Apple is just focusing on the iPhone 5 at this point.

Another question is, does Apple even need to bother with having a low-end, second iPhone model at all? Techinically, there are already two iPhones available for purchase still: the iPhone 4 and the heavily-discounted iPhone 3GS, which is really a steal when you think about it.

Apple is already at the top of the global smartphone leader board based on recent reports from the IDC and Strategy Analytics. Apple's already obviously doing well with just one iPhone. Perhaps it could save some of that innovation for other products.