Wall Street Journal today reported that Apple is supposedly working on a cheaper version of the iPhone now that its supremacy in smartphones is slipping. (Read Samsung tops Apple as best cell phone brand.)
While Apple has explored such a device for years, according to the report, the plan is progressing and a less expensive version of its flagship device could launch later this year. The cheaper iPhone is expected to have a less expensive body than the one available now.
One possibility under consideration is lowering the cost of the device by using a different shell made of polycarbonate plastic; in contrast, the iPhone 5 currently has an aluminum housing.
Many other parts could remain the same or be recycled from older iPhone models.
Apple faces greater pressure than ever now that there are so many low cost options thanks to Google’s Android OS. With more open sources operating systems like Ubuntu Phone OS coming to the mobile system, the competition is only going to get tougher.
Apple has been considering a less-expensive iPhone since at least 2009, viewing it as a way to grab market share and introduce people to the brand, said people familiar with the efforts.
Gene Munster, an analyst with Piper Jaffray, said that a less expensive iPhone won’t necessarily hurt Apple’s overall profit margin if it attracts buyers who haven’t bought iPhones before and not those who would have been willing to purchase the higher-end device.