Cheaper Apple iPhone reportedly on the way

Apple is prepping a cheaper iPhone, according to one new report. 

Reuters
An employee cleans an advertisement plate at an Apple dealership on the eve of iPhone 5's release, in Wuhan, China, on Dec. 13, 2012. A budget iPhone may be on the way.

Apple, under increasing pressure from competitors, and eager to break into developing markets, is actively working on a less expensive iPhone

That's the word today from The Wall Street Journal, which says the device would likely resemble the boxy iPhone 4 and iPhone 5, but be built out of far cheaper materials. The Journal targets the smart phone for a launch later this year – a timeframe that may mean Apple will release both a new top of the line iPhone and a bargain counterpart at the same time. (If past years are any indication, the successor to the iPhone 5 will launch in the fall of 2013.) 

Apple won't comment on the rumors, but speculation about a cheaper iPhone has been rampant for years now, and the Journal is rarely wrong about this kind of thing. 

A couple things to note: The early success of the iPhone, which launched in 2007, was in large part due to its status as a "luxury" device. Consumers were buying a good phone, but they were also buying a status symbol. And because so many millions of Americans seemed to have no problem with forking over a relatively hefty chunk of change for iPhone, Apple never really had a reason to roll out a budget model. 

IPhone sales are still extremely strong – iPhones account for 48.1 percent of the American smartphone market, Kantar Worldpanel says, compared to the 46.7 percent claimed by Android. But the iPhone 5 launch missed a lot of analysts' forecasts, and there has been widespread concern that the magic is rubbing off the iPhone brand. A cheaper iPhone would allow Apple to reach a whole new audience in the US. 

It would also allow it to reach consumers in burgeoning markets such as India, where Apple does not have the foothold it does here. 

For more tech news, follow us on Twitter@CSMHorizonsBlog

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.