Why Apple should release a less expensive iPhone

iphone-5-topRecently, rumors have been running rampant about Apple releasing a cheaper version of the iPhone. These rumors are not new, but seem to have been picking up a lot of steam in the past month. Maybe it is because there is nothing else to write about in the Apple world right now, or maybe there is truth to the rumor.

True or not, I think it is about time Apple releases a less expensive iPhone. You might argue that they are already selling a cheaper model: They currently sell the iPhone 4S for $99 and the $ is free. This is true, but there is one big problem with this plan. These are older models.

When a person goes into the phone store looking for a new phone for $100 or less they have two options: Get the older iPhone or get a new Android phone. Many people will get the older iPhone because they want an iPhone – they want the Apple product in their pocket or they want the ease of use or they want it to easily sync across their Mac and iPad.

Other people will opt for the newer Android phone. This person might not care about it being an Apple product; they just want a smart phone for checking email, using some apps, and getting on the internet. What they do care about is how the phone looks or how heavy the phone is. The iPhone 4 and 4S are like bricks compared to the iPhone 5 and newer Android phones. Plus, many cheaper Android phones have a much more modern look. (Personally I never liked the look of the iPhone 4/4S. I wish the phone looked more like the iPod Touch.) There are many people who are more concerned with these features than the actual brand or operating system.

I can see selling an older model as the free phone, but why not have a $100 or $129 version of a new iPhone? It could have fewer features with 8GB of storage and a lower quality camera (for examples), and still has the latest iPhone design. It worked and is working with the iPad Mini, I don’t see why it would not work with the phone. It doesn’t have to be a low quality phone, just a phone with fewer features. One could argue Apple did this for years with the MacBook and the MacBook Pro lines.

My wife refused to get an iPhone 4 or 4S because of the weight and design. She originally had a lighter and rounder Android phone. When the 5 came out she did switch, but if it was going to be another bulky iPhone 4-like design she would have purchased something else. This is the person Apple needs to go after.

As an Apple fan and product user I don’t see myself ever buying an Android or Windows phone. I have too much invested in apps and I like the OS better. However, if Apple did design an iPhone Nano type of device they could definitely take a bigger chunk of that end of the market.

  • Anonymous

    Apple has built its reputation as a supplier to the elite who want fancy stuff that works fine with other Apple stuff, but with very little else. It’s the image of exclusivity and being hip.

    If Apple waters down it’s brand, then they’re going to upset a lot of folks who are interested mainly in the cache.

    It’s okay for Apple to sell older editions of their phones at cut-rate prices and even to give the oldest away with a contract, of course, but everyone who’s anyone knows that you’re not really in the “in crowd,” because you don’t have the latest and greatest and that’s what Apple is really all about as evidenced by the long lines on launch dates.

    The effect wouldn’t be immediate by any stretch, but eventually, the brand would suffer and I don’t think that that will benefit Apple in the least.