Two IPhones Are Better Than One

Apple is reportedly prepping the release of two new iPhones — the iPhone 5 and 4S — in a move that may help the company retake mid-tier market share from rival Google.

According to Deutsche Bank’s Chris Whitmore, the iPhone 4S features minor upgrades, and is expected to sell for $350 without a contract. The iPhone 5 will reportedly offer a beefier change such as a new body style, upgraded 8-megapixel camera and, of course, carry a higher tag.

If the reports are true, it may be just what Apple needs to turn the tides in its battle with Google.

After a strong entry in the smartphone market, Apple fell behind Android in market share, due largely to its high price point. Google, and its handset partners, blanketed the low and mid-tier market, selling Android devices at cheaper prices.

The iPhone may be wildly popular, but it is unlikely Apple could ever catch up to Google by offering just one new version of the iPhone each year.

Android is offered on every major carrier throughout the world. Apple, on the other hand, priced itself out of emerging markets like India and Asia by offering just one iPhone that sells for $650 unlocked.

Leaks about the Cupertino, Calif.-based company’s new iPhone have been popping up on a daily occurrence. Most analysts expect CEO Steve Jobs to take to the stage within the next few months to announce a new phone that may go on sale as early as September.

While Apple has never before released two new iPhones at the same time, the company has seen success by continuing to offer the 3GS, the iPhone 4’s predecessor. AT&T offers the 3GS for $50 with a contract, and the device has outsold the HTC Inspire and Motorola Atrix, two popular Android phones.

The figures show consumer demand is high for a lower-priced iPhone, a device Apple may be able to use to dent Android sales.

If the iPhone 4 sees a price drop when the iPhone 5 hits stores and Apple still keeps the 3GS around, then the company will have three different phones, each in a different price bracket. It may not equal the number of options consumers get with Android, but it would still be a good start for Apple in expanding its customer base into emerging markets.

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