Apple is a company who operates in secrecy, when posed with questions from the press about rumors concerning future products, they either refuse to comment on “rumors and speculation” or they do like Tim Cook, who when talking with Brian Williams on Rock Center, simply smiled and clam up. So it’s a little odd that Apple’s SVP of Worldwide Marketing, Phil Schiller, spoke with a Chinese newspaper to refute claims that Apple was working on a “cheaper” iPhone for emerging markets and pre-paid carriers. In Schiller’s own words, he says of the cheaper device, “[it] will never be the future of Apple products.”
As with everything Apple says, there’s more to the story. Apple doesn’t make “cheap” products, they make some of the most gorgeous technology on the market, they use high-end materials and present them in a way like no other company. So yes, it would seem like a cheaper iPhone wouldn’t fit in Apple’s scheme of things, but what if by “cheaper,” all it meant was the same iPhone, with more affordable technology? Take this for example, the iPhone 4S, which is well over a year old, uses components that have certainly dropped in price since its launch, if used within an iPhone 5 shell, it would allow Apple to basically sell a cheaper device, without sacrificing the quality of their hardware or their brand. If the device’s manufacturing costs go down as well, Apple could potentially keep its profit margins too. In the end, it wouldn’t be a poor and inferior product, which is by definition, how Schilller described a “cheap” iPhone.
Apple has in the past denied the existence of many products, several times, the late Steve Jobs (Apple’s former CEO and co-founder) said that they [Apple] were not looking to create a smartphone. He also said the same thing about the iPad, which coincidentally was actually in development before the iPhone. Jobs was also famously quoted as saying that smaller tablets, like those in the 7-inch category, where DOA (dead on arrival) and yet, late last year Apple announced the iPad Mini, their 7.9-inch tablet.
The iPad Mini is the perfect example, or reason, as to why we should expect to see a more “cost-effective” iPhone. Apple denied the Mini for a long time, they down right refuted the need for it, but when they actually came around and announced it, they had developed it with older hardware and technology from the iPad 2 (which was a year old), such as its processor and display. It’s not inconceivable that we’ll be seeing an iPhone this year that costs less than it’s flagship brother, whether it uses the same frame and design of the iPhone 5 remains to be seen. Who knows, maybe the iPhone 5S will become the cheaper device, while a new, unseen and larger iPhone takes its place as the company’s new flagship device.