Earlier today, Digitimes reported that Apple are reportedly in the midst of developing a less expensive iPhone designed to take on the cheaper smartphones in the market, and to help penetrate the smartphone market in Asia, despite impressive initial sales figures of the iPhone 5 in both India and China.
Some sources claimed that they have seen the sample of the low-cost iPhone, which will come with a larger display, meeting the prevailing trend for the adoption of 5-inch displays for high-end models. They added that the low-priced iPhone will also have a brand new exterior design.
As Digitimes said, this supposedly cheaper phone will sport a larger display than the iPhone 5 and an all-new design, which doesn’t make any sense whatsoever.
Apple has never been interested in market share and market penetration, instead, their main focus is to make a truly excellent product with a price tag to match. Even though Apple has a relatively small portion of the smartphone market, they have a much higher revenue than any other smartphone manufacturer.
It’s against Apple’s DNA to make a cheaper product, even if it’s just as good as the original one. However, the iPad mini shows that Apple is interested in going down this path, even though this has never been part of the company’s philosophy.
Having said that, the Wall Street Journal later corroborated the story from Digitimes, saying:
Apple Inc. is working on a lower-end iPhone, according to people briefed on the matter, a big shift in strategy as its supremacy in smartphones has slipped.
While Apple has explored such a device for years, the plan has been progressing and a less expensive version of the flagship device could launch as soon as later this year, one of the people said.
While this adds a little more credibility to this rumour, and while it could indeed be true (especially if AllThingsD and the New York Times confirm the story), as I said above, such a product goes against Apple’s philosophy of making the best products they can, with price not being a barrier.
A different way to make more sense of this report is to consider that these sources may have seen an early prototype of the iPhone 6 (the 8th generation iPhone) rather than the iPhone “mini”. Doing so would make the allegation that this cheaper iPhone will have a 5 inch screen make a little more sense.
While details on this story are sketchy at the moment, future reports will hopefully shed some light on how an iPhone mini will make sense for Apple.