Speculation is reaching a fever pitch over Samsung’s next phone, but the Apple rumor mill also has - been spinning into high gear. AppleInsider reported Friday that Apple may be planning to put out its next iPhone in late August — alongside a cheaper version of the iPhone to help it compete in emerging markets.
The report comes from analysts from Barclays Capital, AppleInsider said, by way of a Chinese tech news site called EMSOne. The report said that a cheaper version of the iPhone will be manufactured by Apple suppliers Foxconn and Pegatron with an eye on an August release date.
As for the next flagship iPhone, the report said that the “iPhone 5S” would have an updated chipset that would allow its phones to work on LTE networks in China.
There has been plenty of speculation that Apple will try and lock up sales in China and other emerging markets by offering a lower-priced version of the iPhone, possible made with different materials to decrease the cost of manufacturing. Apple currently addresses lower-end consumers’ needs by selling older versions of the iPhone on discount, but a report last week from the Japanese Apple blog Macotakara hinted that the company may be considering making a cheaper phone out of polycarbonate.
Apple itself has indicated that it would not be willing to compromise making a quality product to chase after more price-conscious consumers. In an earnings call this January, Apple chief executive Tim Cook said, “We aren’t interested in revenue for revenue’s sake.” “We could put the Apple brand on a lot of things and sell a lot more stuff.”
Still, analysts have said that Apple needs to lower its price points to succeed in the future. With the wireless industry showing signs of saturation in markets such as the United States and Europe, cracking markets in places where smartphones are just starting to take off, such as China, is key to Apple’s future. And the company has made a point of saying that it’s focusing closely on the Chinese market, where it is focused on building more Apple stores and working on partnerships with the country’s largest carriers.