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Assuming that Horowitz's reliable sources are in fact reliable, his opening sentence suggests that this budget iPhone is only targeted at the Chicom market, or possibly other emerging overseas economies. He made that point in another post a few days earlier: The "'low-cost' plastic-bodied iPhone, which is being developed with China Mobile in mind. ... A budget iPhone model would help sales in populous but underdeveloped countries to grow."
Horowitz doesn't say what a budget iPhone means, pricewise. But fortunately the iOSphere hates an information vacuum and other rumors appeared, almost like magic ...
In an "article" that reads more like a transcribed opium dream, Kristin Dian Mariano, in the International Business Times, "reports" that the "upcoming iPhone 6 may cost less than rival Samsung Galaxy S4."
In other words, one unannounced product may cost less than another unannounced product. Of from another perspective, one unannounced product may cost more than another unannounced product.
And the basis for this Dramatic Insight? "New rumours claimed that Apple is considering revising its pricing strategy, especially for the iPhone, in order to compete with companies offering low-priced devices such as Samsung."
Not all that new: The iOSphere has been billowing with rumors that Apple will or should create a lower-priced iPhone for years.
"The upcoming iPhone will probably cost around $300 less than its rival," Mariano confidently assures us. Currently, Apple lists the price of an unlocked 16GB iPhone 5 at $649; Samsung's site links to Best Buy, which offers the unlocked Samsung Galaxy S III (storage not indicated) for $700, midway between the 16GB and 32GB iPhone models.
Mariano doesn't really explore how Apple could cut the price of the iPhone by nearly 50%, though there is a reference to a months-old news story, by The Wall Street Journal, that claimed "Apple is seriously considering releasing a low-priced iPhone" by substituting a plastic body for an aluminum one. Though, if memory serves, that story was actually about designing a different, lower-priced iPhone model [cf. Horowitz, op. cit.] that would be offered with the high-end iPhone.
Other options, not mentioned by Mariano, are introducing slave labor in the supply chain; or becoming a nonprofit corporation.
But somehow it will get done. Because "Apple executives were alarmed that the company is losing its dominance in the market." Alarmed. Shaken not stirred. Panic-stricken. And no wonder. "Consumers are paying attention to smartphones with affordable pricing but offers great features and performance." There are products on the market that are ... Less Expensive Than Apple's.
But NPD Group just reported that in Q4 2012, Apple umm dominated the U.S. smartphone market: its share was 39%, down 2 points from Q4 2011. Samsung's share jumped to 30%, up from 21% in the year-ago quarter. And the top-selling five smartphone models in the U.S. for Q4 were, in order, iPhone 5, Galaxy S III, iPhone 4S, iPhone 4, Galaxy S II.