Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Apple to sell low-, mid-, high-level iPhones as part of next-gen iPhone push

One reason we know that the iPhone 4S or iPhone 5 (whatever it will be called) is nearly here is because of the rash of rumors. There are so many, that PC Magazine has asked for the "iPhone 5 rumor insanity to stop."

They have a point. If you went by rumors, there would be an iPhone 4S, or an iPhone 5, or both an iPhone 4S AND an iPhone 5. Oh, and don't forget the iPad 3, and that the new iPhone will either be radically changed or changed only minimally, with all the changes internal, much as with the iPhone 3GS vs. the iPhone 3G.

Kaspersky Anti-Virus 2012The latest rumor is that Apple will launch a prepaid / lower cost iPhone later this year. This is a rumor we actually reported on earlier. The phone will retail for no more than $350 without a service contract, which is also the same as we reported earlier.

It's even possible that the lower cost iPhone will simply be the iPhone 3GS. Earlier, we reported that the iPhone 3GS could be made free, on contract, so this could be related to that rumor. If true, perhaps the 3GS could be free on contract, and $350 without contract.

It seems that Apple will continue to sell the iPhone 4, as well, alongside the 3GS and the next-generation iPhone. That would mean the iPhone 4 will sell for the typical $99 price that Apple has been using for its year old iPhones (on contract, and with a lower storage tier), along with the new iPhone and the old iPhone 3GS.

Speaking of the new iPhone, what will that be like? Will it be radically different, or just minimally different. The sources that BGR spoke to seemed to think that since we haven't seen a rash of third party cases leak yet, the new iPhone won't have a different exterior, although it's also known that Apple has been cracking down on case leaks.

Therefore, while the source confirmed the iPhone 5 will be radically different, it believes the new iPhone will be an iPhone 4S, akin to the iPhone 3GS and with an exterior identical enough to fit into current cases. Either way, the new device will be coming out or “at least announced by the end of Summer, late August-ish.”

If these rumors pan out, that means that Apple will have three different iPhones to sell, low- (iPhone 3GS), mid- (iPhone 4), and high (iPhone 4S). However, one fly in the ointment that might make this rumor a tad bit doubtful: there is no iPhone 3GS that works on CDMA. So either Verizon will be left out in the cold for the low-end iPhone or Apple will have to come up with CDMA innards for it.

It's also still possible that Apple will have Sprint and T-Mobile next-generation iPhones, as well. That could really set Apple up for a major move in U.S. smartphone market share.

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