We’ve been hearing a lot of rumors suggesting Apple might be releasing a low-cost iPhone this fall. Analysts predict the timing is right for the Cupertino company to enter the low-end smartphone market and they love to speculate.

The latest gossip comes from Mike Abramsky of RBC Capital who sees things a little differently. The analyst believes we’ll see Apple offer a cheaper iPhone, but it won’t be a new model. He thinks the 3GS is the rumored low-priced smartphone…

“While a $49 iPhone is already available (AT&T), psychologically a $0 iPhone provides a compelling offer.”

Abramsky estimates that a free iPhone 3GS would add $7 billion of revenue and $1.82 earnings per share. He also thinks that offering an unsubsidized model for $399 could make headway into some prepaid markets where flimsy Android devices are all the rage.

It’s feasible for Apple to sell the 3GS at a $399 full retail because they could still maintain decent profit margins. It costs Apple $178.96 to manufacture the device and a little extra for processing and shipping.

Aside from dropping the price on the 3GS, the RBC Capital analyst also predicts we’ll see the iPhone 4 drop to $99, pending the launch of a new model. Apple has lowered the price tag on all previous iPhone models in wake of new releases, so this one isn’t hard to swallow.

As I mentioned above, I can see the iPhone 4 for $99 at some point, but a free 3GS? Why would Apple continue to push 2 year old hardware? Maybe Steve Jobs and company really think they are that far ahead of the competition. I guess I’d take a free 3GS before I’d pay for an Android.

What do you think of a free 3GS?

[TUAW]

  • Burge

    A 3GS at the mo is the 2nd best phone you can get..come September it will be the 3rd..and if it’s free it makes it even more appealing…

  • T-Mizzle

    It would be a smart move for AT&T. Verizon can’t compete with that because they don’t have the 3GS, right? I love mine. Haven’t upgraded yet because I just didn’t feel the need, but I will when the new one comes out this fall. I could still sell it for a good price on e-bay. Lots of T-Mobile folks still want it.

  • SomeoneSomewhere

    0$ iPhone 3GS is at 0% chance of happening if you ask me 😛
    Maybe 10$, pretty laughable price no? This has a small chance of happening but still – they’ll drop 3GS because it’s been around for a long time
    Where on earth can you get a free mobile device anyway???

    • T-Mizzle

      Free with a two year contract, dude keep up.

  • Ana

    3gs already free in canada with Bell.

  • Armagedon

    Flimsy get fucked I own a iPhone 4 love it but also love my HTC desire hd flimsy my ass

  • Pie

    I’d buy a android over a free 3GS to imply a older device is beter then newer hardware is idiocy but I’d take the free one for the he’ll of it

    • Acolz

      3GS can still be faster than some Android devices dude

  • Andrew

    It seems that steve jobs’s disease has caused him to go mental. I’ll find a gravestone. 🙁

  • Mick

    I don’t care how good 3gs is in comparison, it’s an old phone and it’s a 2 year contract, I personally wouldn’t even go for a 2 year contract no matter what the handset but with this, by the time you upgrade it will be on something like the iPhone 6 or 7. I’m in the UK btw where we have 12 month contracts which I prefer, pay more for the handset but not contractually bound for as long and with technology moving as quick as it is 12 months is perfect.

  • leo

    Hahahahaha… that would be awesome specially for people like me how really enjoys the features of the ios and thake the most of the hardware with a little help of the jailbreak comunity, i actually still use an iphone 2g and i still love it 3g and 3gs where great hardware but i hate the design, (i’.. be glad to have anyone of those) but since the only feature i’m missing is the 3g connection i’m not crazy about buying a new one..

  • No to both