It's been long rumored that Apple plans on introducing a low-cost iPhone sometime this year to better compete with low-cost Android smartphones from Samsung, HTC, Motorola and other Android licensees. In the past Apple has mainly focused on the high-end smartphone market with each iPhone release, but it now appears that Apple is willing to address the low-cost smartphone market.
Apple competitors should take note: "Low-cost" does not mean cheaply designed smartphones in Apple's world.
Apple is beginning to get more aggressive as it has seen Samsung surpass it in sales of smartphones. Samsung was able to achieve this due in part to releasing multiple smartphones at different price points, and also because it currently sells smartphones running Android and Windows Phone. The majority of its sales are from its Android offerings and a big percentage of those sales are from lower-priced Android smartphones.
Apple knows in order to regain smartphone market share it must address areas it has ignored in the past, and according to a new analyst's report, the folks in Cupertino have a low-cost iPhone that doesn't skimp on quality design in order to maintain a low price.
Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities revealed to AppleInsider that the specs for the low-cost iPhone were actually decided in 2011 and that the company is "unlikely to abruptly change due to a market shift toward larger screens in the 5-inch range." He revealed that the low-cost iPhone will have a "super-thin plastic casing mixed with glass fiber, the material will make it stronger, thinner and lighter than typical smartphone plastic casings." He also expects Apple to offer the smartphone in four to six color options instead of the usual black and white models it has offered in the past.
Kuo also told AppleInsider that he expects Apple to release an updated premium iPhone 5S later this year. It's always good to take Apple rumors with a huge grain of salt, but Kuo has been spot-on in the past with Apple news. He predicted the iPhone 4S release timeline, the white iPhone 4 launch and the iPad 2 release.