Apple (AAPL) will almost certainly announce new iPhones before the end of June. So what will they look like?
Canaccord Adams analyst Peter Misek checks in with Apple’s carrier partners and reports three new iPhones in Apple’s roadmap, according to a summary by FinancialPost. These phones include:
The first is a 32GB iPhone in multiple colours that is likely to arrive during the next six months.
Next up is a lower-cost handset based on the 2.5G iPhone, which is targeted for China and India.
Third is a smaller version – about one-third the size of the 3G iPhone – that costs 40% less and is also likely before year-end.”
True? We don’t know. Plausible? Sure.
We’ve long expected Apple to add on to the high end of the iPhone line by summer, reducing the price of its current iPhones by $100. More storage capacity and more colour choices are Apple’s standard operating procedure. We’ve also read reports that the new iPhones will have more processing power to run multiple apps at once.
A cheaper phone for China and India also makes some sense. But why not just include the standard 3G chip? One possible reason: China’s biggest carrier doesn’t support the iPhone’s current 3G technology — China Mobile is building out a 3G network based on a different wireless technology. And Chinese iPhone buyers could be less likely to roam internationally. So that could be one explanation. Meanwhile, in India, 3G access hasn’t been rolled out yet; Gartner estimates only 20% of subscribers will be using 3G by 2012.
A second problem in India and other countries: mobile phones are mostly unsubsidized for prepaid plans — meaning the iPhone is even more expensive. On Apple’s most recent earnings call, COO Tim Cook said that Apple is still trying to figure out how to approach all of those markets, where “sales are clearly materially less” than they are in the “subsidized markets that have post pay contracts.” Do not expect a feature-stripped, crappy iPhone for poorer countries: “We’re not going to play in the low end voice phone business,” Cook said. “That’s not who we are.” But if Apple could reduce the cost of the current iPhone to make it more affordable unsubsidized, that could go a long way.
How about that smaller iPhone? We’d previously written it off. But after talking to some smart people in the wireless industry, we think it’s plausible that Apple could offer a smaller iPhone. Why? Most of the women we’ve asked love their iPhones. But many say they’d rather have a smaller one, even if it’s harder to type on.
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