Apple is “working on” a more wallet friendly iPhone

We all know that Apple charge a premium for their hardware. From the iPhone to the iMac, due to their reputation and styling, the devices come with a premium that most existing Apple fans and users are willing to pay.


An iPhone Mini mock up

With the rumour of an iPhone Mini floating around for some time, it looks like a less expensive iPhone is on Apple’s product road map. The people who need to know have been told Apple is “working on” the budget device in an attempt to fight back against the deluge of budget Android handsets taking market share, frankly, everywhere.

Now, working on could mean anything from initial discussions around the boardroom table to a prototype device being tested with Apple’s current iOS and services offered by the iPhone 5. But what could we expect?

  • A smaller device shouldn’t be out of the question
  • A lower spec, similar to that of the iPhone 4 or recycling parts from older iPhones
  • Housing made from plastic, rather than aluminium.

Executives are worried that a newer iPhone will complicate the design and manufacturing process. This is probably the reason why older generations of the iPhone are still kept on sale at lower price points – no new products need to be designed.


Apple CEO Tim Cook has added the iPad Mini to Apple's product catalog. iPhone Mini on the way?

Whatever Apple decides to do, their smartphone shipments were down in Q3 2012 to 14.6%. In Q1 2012 they were at 23%. The reason? Samsung. Their shipments were up, sitting at 31.3% for Q3 2012. This can most likely be attributed to the Galaxy S III and Note selling well.

Not that Apple is struggling, even if their stock is down 25% from the dizzying heights of $702.10 in September to $525.31 at the close of business yesterday. But the less-expensive device could squeeze Apple’s profit margin, where even small changes can affect current and potential investor relations.

Even though it’s always been rumour, it seems that Apple is considering a slightly different iPhone, be it a mini, or budget model. Just don’t say cheap though.

Source: WSJ | Image of iPhone Mini render courtesy of Kalin Nacheff, Tim Cook courtesy of Ubergizmo

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No way. I couldn't see people using this. You know what I could see though, a wallet friendly iPod. That is something most people carry around with them as well as a phone, and having two big devices in your pockets is rather annoying, so why not take one of them (ipod), one that you only use when on the bus or going for a walk, and make it wallet-friendly. We could literally just whip out our iPods instead of carrying two devices.

I know we have the iPod Nano, and the Shuffle, but making a mini-iPod touch would be pretty sweet...i guess? loool.

FIRST WE GAVE YOU 4 ROWS OF ICONS!
THEN WE REVOLUTIONISED THE INDUSTRY WITH.....5 ROWS!
NOW WE CHANGE THE WORLD AGAIN....THREEEEEEE ROWS.

You can almost see Tim Cook delivering that with a straight face.

How sad.

Doesn't exactly sound like a good idea to me. Isn't the iPhone 4 free with contract? Unless they are aiming at a cheap phone out of contract, but that isn't exactly targeting a large audience.

Not that I would like this idea either, but they might as well release an iPhone with a gigantic screen since plenty of people seem to like that.

yeah, iPhone with a bigger screen would always be nice, like 4.3" or 4"5 with more width, and a little length improvement. something like the galaxy s II x. I'm in love with that phone.

For crying out loud!!! Bring back Jobs please! I mean, I'll throw anti apple hate left right and centre but at least with Steve it was worth it. Now their products are getting dumb! iPad, great. iPad mini... **** New iPod touches, sick lumia rip off it's going from bad to worse!

I firmly believe that Steve Jobs back as a zombie could work. He could live off their brains of Android users... And let's face it there are lots and lots of them.

Wow, now I can really start to see how Steve Jobs influenced Apple Design, with him there (and healthy) the iPad Mini and (the current) iPhone 5 probably wouldn't have seen the light of day, and I don't know a lot about other products that have launched since.

If you want to break into the cheaper side of the consumer market, keep producing iPhones with a 3.7" screen and sell them cheaper! And do something decent other than a longer version of the current iPhone.

It's not exactly rocket science.

I don't think there will be a 'mini' iPhone, but a phone with a plastic body that's cheaper to produce than the glass and stainless steel of the iPhone 4 and 4S or the machined aluminum of the iPhone 5 does make a lot of sense.

Especially when you look at how many prepaid carriers Apple has been signing on lately (Cricket, C-Spire, Virgin Mobile, Straightalk, and those are just in the US).

The 'free' iPhone 4 on-contract costs $450 unlocked from Apple and $350 on Virgin Mobile. There's a lot of room for improvement there.

I also think that a lot of Android's marketshare is coming from these prepaid carriers where you can get a decent Android phone for around $100.

Surly an iPhone Mini would now be the same size as a 4S and its predecessors?

*Edit*

I see someone above already asked that.

A release into this market would not be a surprise at all. Especially after the iPad Mini release. They are entering more markets, because they need to.

I can still see it being a premium device, just at a lower price point. I'm sure like all of their products, they will keep the same design as the other products in the range.

Or if they want to go and compete with Nokia and HTC and their fancy colours, the iPod Touch design could work too.

I'm expecting a "mini" or "nano" to be a little smaller, probably 3.3'' as the Xperia Ray has and it proves to be very usable for people with small hands.

How could they make an already small device even smaller? iPhone mini with a 1" screen?

They'll still sell millions as long as there's enough space to fit a glimmering Apple logo on the back

they will probably release an aluminium iphone 6 mini with a 3.2-3.5" screen with 960x540 and a their latest processor but with reduced clock speeds and maybe 8gb storage. If they sold this for say £300 instead of ~£500 that their iphone 5 costs then they would sell lots.

Kushan said,
Outdated? How? It's a lot newer than Windows or OSX is and Android isn't all that younger (months, not years).

Yes, it's outdated. And so is Android.

Gaffney said,
Time is ticking, they can't live on their outdated operating system forever.

It's not the OS that is outdated, it's the kernel that is. They have already started pushing the boundaries and the only way they can keep up is by trying to push better hardware in, which is only keeping the speed equal not improving it because the OS model that revolves around their ancient kernel concept is holding them back.

Drossel said,

Yes, it's outdated. And so is Android.

Out of genuine curiosity, what makes you say Android is outdated?

Kushan said,
Outdated? How? It's a lot newer than Windows or OSX is and Android isn't all that younger (months, not years).
So... since windows phone 8 was just released on a new Kernel merely months ago, it's outdated? Man, update cycles have become much shorter!

Drossel said,

Yes, it's outdated. And so is Android.

Oh really, I guess you miss all the new features that are released with each version of the Android OS. more so than iOS.

"Outdated? How? It's a lot newer than Windows or OSX is and Android isn't all that younger (months, not years)."

It's very outdated when you look at WP8, The old-fashioned, static grid o' icons just looks soooooo last decade while WP8's live tiles look alive and fresh. Here in China young people have stopped buying Apple because it's perceived as an old-folks brand.

This is coming soon to Android which is effectively an iOS clone.

Major Plonquer said,
"Outdated? How? It's a lot newer than Windows or OSX is and Android isn't all that younger (months, not years)."

It's very outdated when you look at WP8, The old-fashioned, static grid o' icons just looks soooooo last decade while WP8's live tiles look alive and fresh. Here in China young people have stopped buying Apple because it's perceived as an old-folks brand.

This is coming soon to Android which is effectively an iOS clone.

haha, thanks for the laugh. You obviously do not know what you are talking about. And if you knew anything about Android, you know you can customize the interface to your liking. So yea, know what you are talking about. Helps when replying in forums.

It is the time for the iPhone shuffle, no display to give longer battery life and smaller. You shake it to make phone calls to random people.
All the apps still work (you just can't see them)

Then they can sell you expensive add-ons like an additional display, or an iWatch that gives you bluetooth control so you can see who is calling and who you are calling.

Do you work for Apple and want to hire me? then send me a message I'm available

That fits well into the rumors of the iWatch that have been out there. The iPhone shuffle, works with siri only, as all calling and messaging must be done via voice through either a Bluetooth headset or a wired headset, unless, you buy the iWatch! The new iWatch can be used as an external screen for your iPhone shuffle and allows full control of the iPhone shuffle!

Agreed. Either this is all wrong, or it's a sign that Apple really is scared of Samsung and the like. From Macs to iPhones to tablets, Apple has never made a "budget" device. I'm not even sure the iPod nano counts as it's almost a different niche from the regular iPod.

They could however continue to manufacture Iphone 4 or 4s at a discounted price as they have done before with the Iphone 3 or 3gs.

Actually I see that the smaller iPhone would probably be based on the iPod Nano with touchscreen. I see it as an iPhone Nano which would sound a lot better