The rumour of a less expensive iPhone just won’t go away. The latest report from Reuters suggests that the Cupertino giant is working on cheaper iPhone models, with the quoted price point being $99, according to Reuters’ sources close to the entire operation. The report states that the launch has been pushed to 2014, and in order to distinguish this series from the main iPhone range, the lesser-priced iPhones will be available in 5-6 colours. The primary iPhones are available in black and white colours.
“Trial production was originally planned to start in June, but the mixing of colours is taking longer than expected as Apple has very high and idealistic standards,” said one Reuters’ source in Asia, adding that 20 million plastic iPhones are expected to ship in the October-December quarter.
However, this time around, there is also talk of bigger screen versions of the iPhone, with the 4.7-inch and 5.7-inch screen sizes being mentioned. It isn’t entirely unbelievable, considering 5-inch and similar display size Android devices are giving the iPhone a tough time in the market. This would however be a huge shift from the 4-inch and around screen size the company has been comfortable with ever since the iPhone went mainstream. Incidentally, Steve Jobs always believed that 3.5-inch screens were “the perfect size for consumers”.
The Reuters report says, “The moves, which are still under discussion, underscore how the California-based firm that once ruled the smartphone market is increasingly under threat from its aggressive South Korean competitor. Samsung has overtaken Apple in market share through the popularity of its bigger-screen Galaxy “phablets” and by flooding the market with a range of products at different prices.”
The report does even point out the particular suppliers that Apple has supposedly signed up with – Japan’s Sharp Corp and Japan Display and South Korea’s LG Display will supply the panels for the aluminum iPhone 5S and the plastic iPhone. Hon Hai Precision Industry will assemble the higher-end phone, while Pegatron will assemble the lower priced versions.
The Apple iPhone does have a screen size disadvantage, particularly when in direct competition with the likes of the HTC One, Samsung Galaxy S4 and the Samsung Galaxy Note II.