It appears that Apple's iPhone 3GS might be killed off at some point in the near future. While not a massive surprise in itself (the iPhone 3GS released in June 2009), it seems that Apple might be preparing two iPhone models for this year, with one as a lower cost device. As 9 to 5 Mac reports, some carriers in different countries are reporting a lack of iPhone 3GS shipments arriving in different regions. An international retailer has also reported that the iPhone 3GS has since been removed from their stock database.
In previous cases, Apple has reduced the number of shipments of a product prior to its upgrade releasing, or its discontinuation. This minimizes the inventory of devices that need to be sold, and Apple tend to move the inventory that was not sent out to their 'Refurbished' section of the Apple Store. European iPhone carriers have also stated that the incoming stock of the device is unusually low, and an American reseller has also echoed these thoughts. A source with a position in Apple's global shipment operation has also said that the iPhone 3GS stock in the channel is lower than normal as well.
Another theory raised is that the iPhone 3GS may be upgraded slightly in order to become the lower-priced handset, and the earlier 3GS models would be killed off while an upgraded model would take its place. The chances of this are impossible to predict, but it is an interesting suggestion that 9 to 5 Mac has raised. It would allow for the device to retain its low price point, while still having some acceptable specifications.