Apple 'likely' to launch sub $200 iPhone

News Tony Crammond 06:16, Feb 20 2013

A slice of the budget smartphone business could be too much for Apple to turn down, according to analysts

Apple’s reluctance to release a budget iPhone is set to be tested after the budget smartphone market rose to be worth an estimated $135 billion since the start of 2013.

So far Apple has steadfastly shunned the chance to shed its premium image by releasing an iPhone which everyone can afford, but it is expected to seriously question the decision after the demand for such devices soared in the closing quarter of 2012.

According to analyst Gene Munster, Apple is likely to release a custom designed and built device with which to target rapidly developing smartphone markets in the Far East, such as China and India, and he believes that the company will push out its $199 entry into the low-end market by September.

Currently Apple’s devices retail for considerably more than their counterparts at every price point, with the biggest gulf in retail pricing coming in the budget sector, and this is something which the company will have to address if it is to continue growing in 2013 – but with a September launch proposed, we’re left wondering whether the device could already be in development.

Rumors of a ‘plastic’ iPhone have been circulating for a while now after a patent application made by Apple emerged, detailing a simple case with no hardware keys or front-facing camera, which would be constructed of ‘clear plastic’, according to the paperwork which went with it.

The smartphone world immediately took this as the fabled budget iPhone but the rumor was seemingly quashed by Apple itself, with Vice President of Marketing Phil Schiller stating in an interview to the Shanghai Evening News that “Every product that Apple creates, we consider using only the best technology available”.

It appears that Mr Schiller’s comment may have been taken out of context though. After all, what’s to stop Apple producing ‘the best’ budget smartphone on the market, replete with the best tech available (for the money), and a healthy dose of iOS 7?

Nothing, that’s what – and we agree with Mr Munster that a budget iPhone is long overdue, but will we be seeing one by the end of the year?

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