Apple’s managed to charge a premium price for its iPhones because we’re willing to pay for it. While we routinely see Androids and Windows Phone 7 smartphones sold at heavily discounted prices, or even buy-one-get-one-free, if you want a new iPhone, you’re pretty much stuck paying full price for it. Apple may be looking to draw away some of those users shopping for smartphone bargains, as the company is reportedly working on a budget-priced, smaller version of the iPhone.
According to a Bloomberg report, Apple is supposedly planning to introduce the new iPhone sometime later this year. While we’ll presumably have an iPhone 5 to drool over by then, this model would keep most of the internals of the iPhone 4 in order to reduce manufacturing costs. Apple will also save money by including a smaller screen; the whole package is said to be one-third smaller than today’s iPhone 4.
These savings could translate into retail costs as low as $200, and that’s without carrier subsidies. At that price, we’d expect to see them go for free with a two-year contract.
As a prototype, this iPhone 4 Mini may never even see the light of day. Bloomberg says that the project is very hush-hush, with few staffers involved. If Apple does go through with it, we could hope to start seeing leaked pictures of the phone’s components come out of Chinese manufacturing plants, as production begins.