A number of reputable media sources are saying that Apple is working on a lower-priced iPhone that could be available as soon as this year. Ideally, this device would be geared towards emerging markets like China where the $600-plus price for the iPhone5 is too far out of reach. However, we wouldn’t be surprised if this option becomes available here as well.
The Wall Street Journal says the iPhone5 typically costs $199 with a two-year contract, $99 for older models. The price is brought down by subsidies from the service provider. In other countries, that subsidy is more scarce, so the Android, for instance, is more affordable and, therefore, the more popular choice.
Last quarter, that WSJ story reports, Apple’s share of the smartphone market fell, while Samsung said it had its best year ever. In a change of course, Apple is looking for ways to maintain its dominance. This isn’t the first time that Apple has floated the idea of a lower-cost phone. The Journal has reported on this rumor for a couple of years. In this latest version, the casing would be made out of plastic instead of aluminum and might incorporate parts from previously-owned phones.
CNET reported just yesterday that iPhones are available at Walmart, contract-free, for $45 per month. The unlocked option is being offered more and more. With more competition, there’s a need to try different strategies. Could low-cost phones be far behind?
There’s also a need for new products. The Chicago Tribune reports that Apple is working with Intel on a watch that will work with the iPhone using Bluetooth and a TV is on the way. One area where Apple and iOS developers are excelling is the app area. According to GigaOm, 40 billion apps have been downloaded since the App Store opened in 2008, two billion in December alone. There are 775,000 apps to choose from. Let us know some of your favorites.