As hard as we try, we just can’t escape the ongoing ‘iPhone nano’ rumors. It seems that everyone in the tech industry is waiting on Apple to diversify its handset lineup and introduce a less expensive iPhone for prepaid and emerging markets.

In fact, we’ve already heard a report on the topic today from DigiTimes, who says that their sources have actually seen the low-cost smartphone. And this afternoon, The Wall Street Journal throws its hat into the ring with its own scoop…

The Wall Street Journal reports:

Apple Inc. AAPL +0.27% is working on a lower-end iPhone, according to people briefed on the matter, a big shift in strategy as its supremacy in smartphones has slipped.

While Apple has explored such a device for years, the plan has been progressing and a less expensive version of the flagship device could launch as soon as later this year, one of the people said.

The cheaper phone could resemble the standard iPhone, with a different, less-expensive body, one of the people said. One possibility Apple has considered is lowering the cost of the device by using a different shell made of polycarbonate plastic. Many other parts could remain the same or be recycled from older iPhone models.”

As the article states, Apple has been exploring the possibility of a lower-end iPhone for a few years now. Back in 2011, The Journal reported that the Cupertino company had a cheaper, iPhone 4-like device in the works with an edge-to-edge display.

Currently, Apple is offering its broadest handset lineup ever. Customers can purchase the iPhone 5 for as low as $199, the 4S for $99 and the iPhone 4 is free on a number of carriers. But without carrier subsidies they’re all still very expensive.

And that’s where a less expensive iPhone would come into play. A $200 or $300 model would do very well in markets like India and China, where no-contract prepaid plans are extremely popular. Right now, they belong to Android and other cheap handsets.

I don’t know that we’ll see it this year, as the article states, but I do believe that Apple has a less expensive iPhone in its labs. And if and when it decides to release the device, it’ll make a significant impact on its smartphone marketshare.

What’s your take on the ‘cheaper iPhone’ rumor? Do you think we’ll see one this year?

  • jose castro

    such a stupid idea.. a iPhone mini… i like the less expensive part tho

  • iDevizes

    Don’t think that’s a good idea. Apple doesn’t need to be like Samsung.

  • Apple doesn’t need to go backwards. If they are going to introduce new iPhones, we need maybe two bigger screen sizes (4.5″ & 5″). Then let iPhone 5 be the lesss expensive and call it a day (4S=Free, 5=$99, New iPhone=$199).

    • yes yes, lets make sarcasm true and end up with iphone 10

    • Kurt

      bigger iphone and i might stay with apple. 4 inches is outdated. when i look at an android phone that has 4inches i think its quite old looking. when i looking at my 4s with its 2007 design, i want to vomit

  • Samsung logic .. Cheaps phones with cheaps plastic !

    • Bro….your so ignorant thats its just sad. I couldn’t give a fuck less about the appearance of my phone. I put a case on it anyway. I would rathrer prefer plastic like on my GS3 than the annoying scratches on the iPhone 5

      • Kurt

        good point!

  • Chuck Norris

    What Apple needs to do is continue what they’re doing. They need to take their product, the iDevice, and work on it and improve it for a new phone. They make it more enhanced and better than the previous generation. Apple doesn’t need to leap back a step and create a cheaper iPhone.

  • Pepeloso

    Apple Needs To Be A Leader Not A Follower…

    • Falk M.

      In that case they had better gone into the mid-price market earlier… *eyeroll*

      I agree on that philosophy though, albeit they are slacking in that department a lot recently.

  • This is sad for apple they don’t know what else to come up with.

  • Apples way of cheap is just to bring the prince down when a newer iPhone comes out.. And it works ..if as the artical says there going to be using cheaper parts but keep it the same why on earth would you buy the mote expensive one.. There the same

  • Dont forget Jamaica. 90% of the island is Prepaid and we love the iPhone but cant pay for it. We need a cheaper iPhone 🙂

  • sambuzzlight

    This will lead to lot of people who shoudnt have iPhones, but if they really want to make a impact then im guessing it would cost around 250$

  • maverickmax

    “cheap”may not be the right word …cuz till now iphone feels exquisite …while samsung made from cheap plastic.. im sure apple has never made cheap devices..:p