Rumors of smaller, cheaper iPhones have been floating around for a while, but here’s something more concrete to maybe get excited about: a $99 iPhone is coming, according to “a person familiar with the plans” who leaked info to Bloomberg.
Apple, which had been working on a more affordable smartphone since at least February 2011, is weighing retail prices of $99 to $149 for a device that would debut in late 2013, at the earliest, according to the person, who asked not to be named because the negotiations are private. Apple has spoken to at least one of the top U.S. wireless carriers about its plans, the person said yesterday.
Executives at Apple have been particularly interested in building a lower-cost model with less-expensive components as a way to appeal to customers in emerging markets, another person has said. More affordable iPhones would help Apple play catch-up with smartphone makers such as Samsung Electronics Co. (005930) using Google Inc. (GOOG)’s Android mobile software system. Android made up 75 percent of smartphone shipments in the third quarter, compared with 15 percent for Apple, according to IDC.
Additionally, the report says that “Apple was also considering a more versatile version that would work on multiple wireless networks.” So there’s that.
Now, before we get too excited, the new, cheapie iPhone may not hold up to the Apple quality standards many have come to expect. The report notes that the company hopes to keep expenses related to the product low by using “cheaper parts,” in addition to be smaller. Consider yourself warned.
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