According to Business Insider, Gene Munster, an analyst from Piper Jaffray & Co who covers tech companies like Apple, thinks Cupertino is planning to introduce a low-cost iPhone by 2014. The phone is predicted to cost $200. If you’re thinking that sounds a little strange when an iPhone 4 costs $0 with a contract, that’s because the phone wouldn’t made with Apple’s current markets in mind: the phone would be targeted towards markets like India and China, where subsidized phone contracts are less attractive and the market share of Apple’s high-end iPhones is low. This would be an aggressive grab away from entry-level Android phones.
It does make sense–why would Apple miss an opportunity to market compelling smart phones to two and a half billion people? Apple has released comparatively more affordable versions of its hardware in the past; see the iPod Shuffle, and more recently the iPad Mini. At the very least it wouldn’t be too difficult for Apple to take the iPhone 3GS’ guts, make the parts even cheaper to produce with newer fabrication methods, and put it in a new case.
Then again, Munster’s has predicted low prices that haven’t panned out in the recent past–for example, citing competition with the Nexus 7 and the Kindle Fire HD, Munster didn’t think Apple would charge more than $300 for the iPad Mini… which you can now find in stores for $329. While it may be advantageous for Apple to compete with entry-level phones in China and India, only Apple knows what Apple is thinking.
Would Apple release a $200 non-subsidized iPhone, or will Apple continue to price itself as a ‘high-end’ brand even if that means it prices itself out of key markets? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.