Later this year, Apple will almost certainly release a successor to the iPhone 4S – possibly even an iPhone with a big new display and a rejiggered chassis. But hey, when the iPhone 5 finally hits, what will happen to all the iPhones of yore? Well, according to the team at tech blog Apple Insider, at least one old iPhone could get a second life in developing countries around the globe.
Jeffries analyst Peter Misek tells Apple Insider that Apple has signed a contract with "a leading distribution and logistics company," which would help Apple sell the iPhone 3GS as a prepaid device. The 3GS currently costs $375 without a contract, Apple notes. But Apple would mark down the device to between $250 and $300, potentially putting it within reach of a whole new market of consumers.
In the States, AT&T currently offers the iPhone 3GS for free, with a two-year contract.
Assuming Misek is correct, after the launch of the iPhone 5 – or whatever the device is called – Apple will likely phase the 3GS out of the US market altogether. Instead of giving away the 3GS for free, AT&T would likely give away the iPhone 4 for free. And the iPhone 4S, in turn, would get a retail price of a $100 with a contract.
Apple, unsurprisingly, is staying mum on the whole thing. (It has not even confirmed the existence of an iPhone 5.)
But as Jonny Evans of Computerworld argues today, the pre-paid plan makes a lot of sense. "Apple will be hoping that offering an iPhone contract-free at a relatively affordable price into emerging markets, and widening distribution of a contract-free alternative in developed markets will boost iPhone sales," he writes. More iPhones, in other words, more clout for Apple.
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