Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is never one to confirm or deny rumors, so the longer a rumor floats in the Wall Street ether, the better chance it is likely to be true. The predominant rumor that has been going around, that seems to have more legs to it as we go, is this notion that Apple will break from its tradition as solely a premium-priced, premium-quality device company and will launch a low-cost, plastic-cased iPhone later this year to address emerging markets that are wide and deep in a mid-price range of smartphone.
There has been a lot of talk, along with some evidence in the supply chain, that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) will indeed launch a lower-price smartphone to compete in the mid-range marketplace with market-leader Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. in emerging markets like China, India and Brazil – where the consumer audience for high-end smartphones is quite small, but Samsung has made a killing in the mid-range with its Galaxy line.
It is in competition in the space with Nokia Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:NOK), HTC and others, and adding Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) to the mix just might be a game changer in those markets.
Samsung is also a strong player on the low end of the smartphone price spectrum, and Nokia Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:NOK) has moved into the space with its Lumia 620 and 720 as well as its phones running on the Asha platform (like the recently introduced 501). So while we may have come to accept and anticipate that Apple would reach down into the mid-range smartphone market to expand its potential customer base, the only other talk has been around new generations of the iPad, iPad Mini and the new iOS 7 (along with the iPhone 6, by the way).
But could there be an entire line of iPhone devices being planned? Might there be another low-cost iPhone on the way that we haven’t heard about? Brian White, who is an analyst and Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) at Topeka, commented on a recent trip to Asia that there was talk surrounding what is being called a “low-cost iPhone 5,” which is different from the low-cost iPhone being rumored because that device is being dubbed “iPhone Mini.”
What is it about this new device that suggests something different than the low-cost iPhone we have all heard about?
White wrote, “We had a discussion with a tech supply chain company around (a device) that would be similar in look to the current iPhone 5 but with edges that are more rounded, a slightly thicker body, more color options and at a lower price. Our research has not uncovered anything remotely similar to (this) before, and we find it difficult to reconcile such a device. … As such, we are treating this data point with a skeptical eye but we will continue to research the topic.”
What do you think? Do you think it’s possible for Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) to be working on yet another lower-priced iPhone, or do you think this is just another interpretation of the same lower-priced device that has been rumored for weeks? Give us your feedback in the comments section below.