Rumor: Apple to discontinue iPhone 5 alongside budget, 5S launch


A new report out of Korea today claims that Apple is going to be discontinuing production of the iPhone 5 this fall, transferring all of its efforts to its next generation flagship handset, the iPhone 5S, and the long-rumored ‘budget iPhone.’

Citing ‘industry partners’ with knowledge of the situation, ETNews is reporting this afternoon that Apple has asked its supply chain partners to wind down iPhone 5 production. And, according to the report, it plans to halt it altogether this fall…

The move would certainly mark a major departure from Apple’s usual routine, as the company has in years past kept the previous two generations of its smartphone in production alongside its new handset. But perhaps it doesn’t need to this time.

iPhone 5 presser (Phil Schiller, iPhone family prices)

Look at the current iPhone lineup. Apple sells the iPhone 5 starting at $199, the iPhone 4S at $99 and offers the iPhone 4 for free (with contracts of course). Maybe, though, Apple feels it can reach the low-end markets with its new budget iPhone.

But today’s report says Apple’s reasoning for discontinuing the iPhone 5 is just as much of a production strategy as it is anything else. ETNews says that the in-cell tech used in the iPhone 5’s touchscreen isn’t suitable for “low volume” production.

That’s odd, because the iPhone 5S is widely expected to be an almost exact replica of its predecessor, with only internal changes. But again, maybe Apple is confident enough in the budget iPhone’s future that it’s changing stuff up to accommodate it.

Here’s a hands-on video with what is believed to be the budget iPhone’s plastic shell:

For those who haven’t been keeping up with the low cost iPhone reports, they’ve all been very consistent, pointing to a device made of plastic and metal. The design resembles the iPhone 5, with rounded edges, and it’s believed to be priced around $300.

Needless to say, it’s expected to be a huge hit.

So what does all of this mean? It’s hard to say. While I wouldn’t be surprised to see Apple discontinue the iPhone 4 and 4S this year—as it moves towards an all-Lightning lineup—it’s hard to imagine that it’d discontinue its most popular (by far) handset.

But hey, I guess that’s what speculation is for. What do you think, does Apple keep or get rid of the iPhone 5 this year?