WHILE PUNTERS are laying down bets on the Iphone 5 launch date, rumours of a budget Iphone are gaining some credibility, the sort of credibility that comes from a COO and a CFO sitting down with an analyst to get the story straight.
According to Appleinsider, Apple's COO and CFO, Tim Cook and Peter Oppenheimer, respectively, had a sit-down with an analyst from RBC Capital Markets, Mike Abramsky, and discussed how a budget Iphone might work out. But of course, we're sure the word 'budget' never crossed anyone's lips.
Instead, the analyst paraphrases the executives and he describes such a chimera as an "innovative, category-killer experience". In other words, Apple neither confirmed nor denied plans for such a device, the executives only made it clear that a lot of thought had gone into the plans for marketing one.
The internet has been rife with speculation about a 'budget' Iphone for the Chinese market, one that would breach the pre-paid phone market without breaking the bank, yet still carry the famous fruit logo on its backside. The name of such a device has shown up as 4S or 4GS, at some web sites, although everyone admits it's just a placeholder for such a device if one ever actually tips up.
To be honest, Iphone contracts in the USA are relatively affordable compared to the rest of the world. In the UK they are still affordable, but less so than in the US. In the rest of the world, including the remainder of Europe, it just isn't cheap - data plans are still expensive and the levels of subsidisation are much lower. You'll simply pay through the nose for the privilege of having an Apple smartphone toy. The Chinese market, is, naturally, more price-sensitive than the western world, and according to the analyst, still relies very much on pay as you go, making it the prime target for Apple's attentions.
We'd like to point out that this has nothing to do with the flood of cheap Android devices that has soaked the european market up to its eyeballs. The facts that Android's share of the market has continued to gain on IOS and Apple is seeing revenues it can't access - the low-cost, prepaid handset kind - might be causing a change of heart in cappuccino-ville.
So just in case it does happen, you now know that it'll be 'innovative' and a 'category-killer experience'. µ
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