iPhone Mini

Budget iPhone thought to borrow colors from iPhone 4 bumpers

Just as Reuters ran a story this morning claiming Apple is planning to release two phablets next year and build  a budget iPhone in variety of colors in 2013, the reliable Japanese blog Macotakara piggy-backs with its own story asserting that Apple’s inexpensive iPhone will actually borrow colors from those iPhone 4 bumpers.

This apparently means such color choices as black, white, pink, orange and blue. The story goes on to note that Apple is shooting for a September launch of the budget iPhone…

Apple patents hints at ad-supported budget iPhone

An intriguing Apple patent application was discovered Thursday, hinting at a solution to how smartphones could be owned in developing nations, such as India. The patent filing describes a way a handset owner could defray the cost of a smartphone’s data plan by viewing advertising.

The patent application published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, is entitled ‘Method and system for managing credits via a mobile device.’

In the same way Apple’s Passbook feature stores coupons and such, this proposed technology would expand the concept of digital wallets…

Why budget iPhone doesn’t mean lower profits

Android smartphone makers have been doing it for years: controlling a market using inexpensive handsets to outnumber the more expensive iPhone. But when the idea that Apple should also produce a more affordable and contract-free device first appeared, a hue-and-cry erupted as if the next MacBook was to be powered by Windows 8.

Now comes calmer heads – ironically from Wall Street – showing Apple’s gross profit margin would increase by six percent because more people will buy the Apple smartphone if the company lowers the cost of owning an iPhone.

That’s right, all the hand-wringing going on about a less-pricey iPhone being suicide for Apple’s bottom-line could be all wrong…

WSJ: Foxconn rival Pegatron is primary budget iPhone manufacturer

We first heard from The New York Times that the world’s top contract manufacturer Foxconn is looking past the iPhone amid Apple’s slowing growth. Reuters previously ran an anti-Apple piece which asserted that Tim Cook & Co. are looking to shift from Foxconn to rival Pegatron, which currently builds the older iPhone 4/4S models.

On Monday, The Wall Street Journal ran a story claiming Foxconn is looking to manufacture, market and sell its own mobile accessories compatible with iOS devices. Moreover, the story goes, Foxconn is said to be expanding its high-margin retail operations and investing in content and services.

Today, the Rupert Murdoch-owned newspaper sheds more light on the subject, claiming Cook has re-shuffled Apple’s supply chain and re-iterating that Pegatron will be the “primary assembler” of Apple’s rumored low-cost iPhone, which the Journal expects to be offered “later this year”…

Martin Hajek’s new concept pictures budget iPhone running revamped iOS 7

The renderings use Hajek’s past budget iPhone concepts as the basis for the hardware. As for the software, he incorporated a round of nice concepts by 3D artist Dámaso Benítez, picturing a flattened iOS 7 user interface that Apple’s design head Jony Ive and his team are widely believed to be working on.

His mockups, Hajek explains on his personal blog, serve to illustrate “how Apple might introduce the new, cheap iPhone.” More awesomeness can be found right past the fold…

Pegatron ramping up hiring for budget iPhone production?

Just a day after contract manufacturer Pegatron warned investors its second-quarter earnings could drop up to 30 percent due to softening demand for iPad mini, other tablets, e-books and games consoles comes word that the company has ramped up hiring as it needs an additional 40,000 workers on top of its existing 100,000 employees.

The 40,000 additional workers are needed to presumably assemble a rumored less-price iPhone model for Apple, Reuters speculated Thursday, reiterating it heard from suppliers that Apple is indeed “developing a cheaper model of the phone” in order to broaden its sales base to lower-income buyers in growth markets such as China and India…

Reliable parts supplier confirms budget iPhone

We usually don’t put our faith in Apple rumors originating from Asian part suppliers who often just make stuff up in the hope of banking on free press to promote their business. But ETrade Supply is different. The parts and repair shop last year leaked accurate photos of the iPad mini display panel, as well as the iPhone 5 front and back panel, to name just a few.

This points to ETrade Supply having some solid sources in the Apple supply chain and probably inside Foxconn, Apple’s favorite contract manufacturer. In a blog post published Monday, the supplier claimed its was able to confirm with its sources that Apple indeed will be releasing lower-end iPhone models this year…

Budget iPhone could be $350 mid-range device

Android is gaining ground largely by offering a cheaper alternative to Apple’s higher-priced iPhone and iPad. Case in point: Acer’s just announced $169 Iconia A1 Jelly Bean tablet. Now, for some time there’s been a drumbeat for Apple to respond with a cheap smartphone of its own, one sold unsubsidized and off-contract to cash-strapped buyers in emerging markets.

However, now comes a voice suggesting Apple doesn’t have to slash prices to improve its market standing. Instead, it could offer a mid-priced iPhone and in the process could cut rival Samsung’s U.S. operations off at the knees.

There’s no need for hokey plastic fake prototypes or leaks from “insiders.” Apple needs only to repeat what its done numerous times in the past, opine two Wall Street Apple observers at J.P. Morgan…

Initial budget iPhone volumes could be modest

Look, DigiTimes is far from being accurate, but this Asian trade publication is nevertheless well-connected and occasionally accurate. According to its Friday report, Apple could initially launch a rumored less-pricey iPhone in small volumes, pegged at no more than three million units during its first quarter of availability. The publication speculates Apple could release the budget iPhone in small volumes in order to “test market response”…

Dubious budget iPhone plastic shell leaks

Apple’s rumored less-pricey iPhone is thought to minimize manufacturing costs by abandoning the pricey two-tone aluminum body, replacing it with a less expensive polycarbonate shell akin to the white G3 iMac – or similar to the plastic body of the iPhone 3G/3GS, if you will. Now, rumor-mills, but also big media such as WSJ and Bloomberg, have repeated this particular data point numerous times, but we have never seen any physical evidence supporting the plastic body theory.

That changed Wednesday as case manufacturer Tactus, which recently leaked purported iPad 5 shell, posted an image that allegedly represents the back shell of the budget iPhone. We couldn’t confirm its authenticity at press time so take this one with a pinch of salt, even more so knowing accessory makers often pull such stunts to get free press…

Foxconn hiring assembly-line workers for next-gen iPhone production, WSJ and Bloomberg claim

Hon Hai Precision Industry aka Foxconn, which assembles iPhones and iPads for Apple, but also consumer electronics on behalf of other vendors, has started hiring assembly-line workers in the tens of thousands in preparation for Apple’s next iPhone, both Bloomberg and the credulous Wall Street Journal reported Monday.

People familiar with the matter tell the publications that the world’s largest contract manufacturer has been recruiting workers for the past month at its plant in Zhengzhou, eastern China.

The reports come following February indications pointing to Foxconn imposing a recruitment freeze across almost all of its factories in China after more workers returned from the Chinese New Year break than did last year, a move some attributed to the supposedly weakening iPhone demand…

Technical challenges delaying iPhone 5S, budget iPhone, iPad mini 2?

KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who actually has a pretty good track record in predicting Apple’s product plans, has some bad news for Apple fans. In a note issued to clients Thursday, he basically wrote that Apple’s next batch of iDevice upgrades may hit the market later than originally expected due to a number of “technical challenges” related to the inclusion of fingerprint sensor beneath the Home button.

The rumored budget iPhone may be delayed because its slimmer-than-usual polycarbonate casing is proving harder nut to crack, while the second-generation iPad mini continues to face challenges with its high-resolution Retina panels. Jump past the fold for the full disclosure…