Two sources have confirmed that Asian suppliers to Apple Inc. have begun manufacturing a lower-priced version of its ultra-popular iPhone 4, Reuters reported.
Although details are sparse at this point, the cheaper model reportedly includes a smaller 8 gigabyte flash drive.
“The existing iPhone 4 was first launched in June 2010 with 16 GB and 32 GB versions, with a white version added to the lineup in April. The 8GB version is expected to launch within weeks,” Reuters said citing the anonymous sources.
Industry analysts say the cheaper model could be a boon to iPhone sales in emerging markets looking to upgrade to a mid-end smartphone.
Yuanta Securities analyst Bonnie Chang told Reuters that this market segment of customers want to switch to low- to mid-end smartphones from high-end feature phones, which typically sell for cost $150 to $200.
“But I think for an 8GB iPhone 4 the price is hard to go below $200, so Apple will still need a completely new phone with low specifications for the emerging markets,” Chang said.
Apple’s much-anticipated next generation smartphone – the iPhone 5 – is reportedly being released in early October, although some reports have indicated late September as the launch date.
Citing industry reports, Apple Insider said manufacturers Hon Hai and Pegatron have been asked to produce as many as 45 million units of the new fifth-generation iPhone for the remainder of the year, which would represent more than double the 20.34 million iPhones Apple sold during its second calendar quarter of 2011.
In related news, TechZone360 recently reported that the iPhone 5 will be a dual-mode device that supports CDMA and GSM networks, making it capable of working with both Verizon and AT&T, an anonymous source told Tech Crunch.
The next-generation iPhone will likely launch in October, a full month after most industry insiders expected the handset to hit stores.
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Executive Editor, Strategic Initiatives
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