Yesterday, The Wall Street Journal (again) backed the swirling rumors previously calling for a redesigned and inexpensive iPhone model aimed at China and developing markets, where handsets are more often than not sold contract-free. Today, Bloomberg piggy-backs on the rumor with its own take, saying this new and less expensive iPhone model could cost anywhere from $99 to $149. That’s the full, unsubsidized price customers would be paying without having to commit their soul to a carrier…

According to the story:

Apple Inc. plans to sell a smaller, cheaper version of the iPhone as soon as this year, said a person familiar with the plans, part of a push to gain customers in developing nations.

Apple, which had been working on a more affordable smartphone since at least February 2011, is weighing retail prices of $99 to $149 for a device that would debut in late 2013, at the earliest, according to the person, who asked not to be named because the negotiations are private.

The report goes on to note that the device would use cheaper parts, but adds it might be smaller than current models, which contradicts claims of a larger, five-inch display. The obligatory people who were briefed on the plans told Bloomberg that “Apple was also considering a more versatile version that would work on multiple wireless networks”.

The iPhone maker apparently has spoken “to at least one of the top U.S. wireless carriers” about its plans, the source added.

Perhaps Apple is in talks with T-Mobile, the sole major U.S. carrier without the iPhone?

We know for a fact that T-Mobile USA will start selling Apple’s handset within months. The affordable iPhone mini, as the press calls it, would also tie nicely with T-Mobile’s unlimited 4G data offering.

Need more proof?

The German carrier announced at CES it will start offering its Unlimited Nationwide 4G Data plan with no annual contract. It costs $70 per month, includes unlimited voice, text and data and is available right now.

Bloomberg also repeats WSJ’s claim that top dogs at Apple have been considering a lower-cost iPhone model to revert market share losses in emerging markets, where Android handsets have pretty much grabbed the low to mid-end of the market to themselves.

The notoriously unreliable DigiTimes last week reported that some supply-chain sources have seen the sample of the low-cost iPhone. The publication added the iPhone mini will have a larger display, quite possibly measuring five inches diagonally, and “a brand new exterior design”.

For years Apple produced 3.5-inch iPhones until the company relented and finally gave the iPhone a larger four-inch screen in September 2012. Though its taller screen enables users to enjoy more content on the iPhone 5, Android users are accustomed to screens measuring up to five inched diagonally.


Samsung’s Galaxy S III, which during the September 2012 quarter was briefly the best-selling smartphone, has a 4.8-inch display.

The Wall Street Journal pretty much corroborated the DigiTimes report, chiming in with a story of its own saying the cheaper phone could resemble the standard iPhone, “with a different, less-expensive body”.

“One possibility Apple has considered is lowering the cost of the device by using a different shell made of polycarbonate plastic”, the Journal adds. “Many other parts could remain the same or be recycled from older iPhone models”.

With The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg throwing its proverbial credibility behind the meme, we’re expecting The  New York Times to follow suit. At this point, this is hardly yet another stupid Apple rumor because WSJ and Bloomberg are unofficial Apple mouthpieces.

Of course, Apple could change its mind at any time and choose not to release the product. After all, as WSJ noted, “Apple has explored such a device for years”.

  • That will be the i4s when the iPhone 5s comes out

    • 4p0c4lyps3

      Ya, no doubt. Lol

    • exactly…

  • @iDownloadBlog any news on what iOS it will run and will it be locked to just 1 version (may be too soon to know now?) worth looking out for

  • dont understand why they would make the iphone smaller, they prided themselves on such a bug screen when the first iphone came out. doesnt make sense would understand an iphone with perhaps not as good of a camera and processor though

    • um if the tech goes backwards like tha ipad mini did apple can g to hell

      • It’s the only way this is feasible.

        It will probably be a bareboned A5, non retina, plastic case, cheaper camera… Etc

        It’s not going to be better than the 4 in any way.

        Common sense really. How can they make a phone cheaper than an iPod and have it perform as well or better than their current models?

    • ahmed hassan

      First they didn’t claim they will stop making 5inch phones 2nd that is a good plan to have a bigger share in the market
      Some people don’t need the big screen or the faster iPhone they just need a phone with an apple logo on it. 
      This strategy worked well with supercar maker when the made family sedans.
      Sorry guys but iPhone is not exclusive anymore.

  • Suapra

    They will continue selling the iPhone4.
    Apple=premium, there will be no cheap device.

    • the 4 is old and slow now and lacks ram.. the 4S is the perfect iphone 4..

      • Suapra

        yes, but an 100 Dollar iPhone will be even slower…

  • zac bishop

    why not keep the 5 and make a iphone XL

  • mini iphone make it 1″ SUPER OLED Screen with 10×10 icons would be the best smartphone to be read and see……..LOL

  • pauleebe

    It’s about time Apple started maintaining at least two iPhone lines every year. They already did with the iPad! (iPad, iPad mini). Nothing wrong with an iPhone mini. It can just recycle last years flagship handset’s internals in a tighter, smaller, cheaper package. I definitely see this as reasonable, and smart to bring newer technology into emerging markets and even here in the US on discount carriers.

  • Mohammad Ridwan

    Ain’t gonna happen

  • Daniel

    Again. And again. And Again. Shitty iPhone for the masses. <—- Tired.

    Why no one talks about Siri Phone. Small phone with basic functions like calls and messages. Yes, without screen. And yes. cheap one.