Apple’s upcoming next-generation smartphone, the iPhone 6, may launch alongside a cheaper, less powerful version – the first time Apple has targeted the mid-range market with a new product.
Currently, Apple catered for cheaper segments of the market by keeping previous-generation products alive: when the iPad 3 launched, for example, Apple continued to sell the iPad 2 alongside it for those who were willing to do without the more powerful processor and retina-class display. Thus far, however, the company has refrained from launching anything but high-end – and high-cost – flagship devices each year, something which it is claimed will be changing with the launch of the iPhone 6 later this year.
According to anonymous sources speaking to The Wall Street Journal, Apple is working on a lower-end iPhone model which will launch alongside the flagship iPhone 6. While externally similar to the iPhone 6, the cheaper version – which may go under the name iPhone 5S – will likely include a last-generation processor, less memory, a lower-quality display and a plastic casing rather than the glass or aluminium for which Apple’s smartphone products are known. In other words, specification-wise the device will be closer to the iPhone 5 or even iPhone 4S than the iPhone 6, while using a plastic casing such as Samsung fits to its Galaxy smartphone line.
We suspect Apple has decided to branch out into the mid-range or budget end of the smartphone market due to competition from Android devices. With the latest version of Google’s smartphone operating system, Android 4.2 ‘Jelly Bean,’ offering a polished user experience, Apple is finding its market share in the smartphone world slipping – not helped by the fact that Android manufacturers like Samsung, Motorola and HTC offer a range of devices suitable for all pockets and wallets rather than Apple’s premium-only one-size-fits-all strategy.
Apple, for its part, has refused to comment on the WSJ’s claims, and no launch date has been provided for any next-generation Apple smartphone.