One analyst earlier in the week noted Apple will simply have to recognize the untapped segment of inexpensive prepaid handsets, an area that could boost it beyond its chief rival Samsung.

Conveniently enough, now comes word that such a device is in the works and could be released to emerging markets in the second half of this year.

But here’s the kicker: the so-called iPhone mini, as the media affectionately dubbed it, is anything but small. According to a rumor out of Asia, the device has a new design and larger display and is specifically being targeted at China and other emerging markets, where Apple’s market share has been declining amid the onslaught of inexpensive Androids and local brands…

The somewhat reliable DigiTimes has the story, based on supply-chain sources:

Some sources claimed that they have seen the sample of the low-cost iPhone, which will come with a larger display, meeting the prevailing trend for the adoption of 5-inch displays for high-end models. They added that the low-priced iPhone will also have a brand new exterior design.

This makes sense considering the success of jumbo-sized Androids. What Apple needs is a way cheaper prepaid device rather than a much smaller iPhone that makes little sense from the usability perspective. Apple’s cheapest iPhone is the 8GB iPhone 4 which retails for $450 contract-free.

Many analysts view an inexpensive iPhone as a way for Apple to gain some ground against competitors and tap the groups of consumers below the high-end of the market.

iPhone 5 Galaxy S III

The publication goes on to note that strong iPad mini sales in China may have served as “an impetus” for Apple to roll out a low-cost iPhone.

Chip maker Qualcomm recently launched the dual-core MSM8960 and the quad-core APQ8064 Snapdragon-branded silicon for low-cost handsets so Apple has options should it pursue the mythical iPhone mini.


The same source also asserted Apple has a version of the iPhone that could run on China Mobile’s TD-SCDMA network. State-owned China Mobile has an astounding 703 million subscribers, which makes it the world’s largest wireless carrier.

And with a cool 1.1 billion mobile phone users at the end of November 2012, China is the biggest telecom market in the world by subscriber base and as such one of Apple’s top priorities going forward.

China Mobile does not carry the iPhone yet and Evercore Partners analyst Rob Cihra warned the carrier’s 3G share suffered as a result, dropping by seven percent to 37 percent since 2011 while rival China Telecom and China Unicom, both of which carry Apple’s device, grew their 3G share during the same period.

Although the iPhone recently beat Android in the United States, elsewhere the Apple handset has a lower market share because of prepaid and much cheaper Android devices.

The mini iPhone concept renders courtesy of designer Federico Ciccarese.

  • Maybe they lower the price of the iPhone 4s an 4 but a cheaper Version? I dont’t think Apple will do it

    • they already did that… Selling the old tech while new tech is out is abad idea IMOP… but i guess it makes easy money so it wiill happen

  • This just does not make any sense at all and is not inline with any of apples trends… Larger? cheaper? too things apple does not do..lol and if they make a larger iphone to sell only in china US consumers will be pissed that they dont get the larger screen…lol

    I am glad all these silly apple rumors are out cause apple is kind boring in reality so lets all use our imaginations to make this more exciting..

    • Exactly, Crapple noticed that it’s got enough iSheeps to sustain it’s growth in the US, so it had no more care for innovative ideas.

      On the contrary, Asians are not accepting the BS and are doing their thinking themselves, thus Crapple is pushed to release something more innovative if they want to survive.

      Summary: Americans, they need to stop spoiling Crapple, and Asians, never underestimate their senses.

      • i agree with this… apple needs some damn competition … lame android is not cutting it no matter how many lame co
        lone phones the bring out

      • Guest

        Honestly, at the beginning I hated you, but now I just pity you.

        Must be pretty shit to have no friends, but hating on Apple on a Blog dedicated to it isn’t a solution.

      • I don’t know why do you always troll on apple blog site , did apple steal your sweet candy , ihaters , just enjoy your device and let us enjoy our iPhone 😉 , lol.

      • I’m just posting facts about Crapple’s greed; why so butt hurt fantards? Is Apple your great grandfather’s last name or what?

        I enjoy my freed iPhone, though, doesn’t mean I have to worship the manufacturer and never do my thinking myself again.

      • But what are you debating about apple is total bullshit without fact.

    • Daniel

      Yeah. When you say “cheaper iPhone” it sounds like “Rolls Royce for the masses”.
      People have to understand that Apples mission and vision are to make products for people who can recognise uniqueness and quality.

  • Release this to the and it’s game over for Android

    • its already game over for android…. android is manly used by folks who cant afford iPhones,.,

    • Lordthree

      Analystis ‘rumors’ are always far from the mark. Even if unnamed ‘sources’ have claimed to have ‘seen’ something like this means almost nothing. Apple prototypes soooooo much stuff that never goes to market.

    • to the what? TO THE WHAT?! XD

    • Bull crap. Apple made fun of Android because of their fragmentation, but now are doing the same crap. The iPad Mini made sense because some people want to a tablet, but not as huge. The iPhone isn’t too big for people, so there should be no point in making it smaller. If they want an inexpensive iPhone, there is the iPhone 4.

      • bs!!!!! all IOS devices run the same damn apps and function exactly the same..

      • Yeah, but the screen sizes are different. It’s a pain in the ass for developers.

  • I would like iPhone to be 500$.. but everywhere not just US because in my country its like 900$ :/