Despite Apple’s denials, rumors continue that the company will release an iPhone Mini, a cheaper, flimsier version of its famed phone, in 2013.
Digitimes first reported the latest rumor on January 8, followed by an updated rumor on January 14 that the new iPhone product would be housed in a plastic chassis. Apple fans expressed serious doubts about the validity of the sources. After all, a cheap, plastic, miniature iPhone would go against the clean, aluminum, and undeniably pricey product strategy the company has stuck with since the iPhone 3GS. Customers like metal and glass. Not only are they recyclable, but they also give the iPhone its classic, elite feeling.
However, a smaller, low-cost version of the iPhone does have certain advantages when viewed through the lens of international mobile strategy. Apple would love to go global, but America and Europe remain its core audiences. The company has not been able to successfully penetrate Asian markets. Japan is a highly competitive field, and emerging markets like China and India have been unimpressed with Apple products. The growing middle class in these countries cannot afford the typically high-end mobile phones that Apple produces so regularly.
If the rumors are true, the iPhone Mini (or whatever it will be called) will likely represent Apple’s attempt to appeal to more cost-sensitive global markets. Companies such as Qualcomm have made similar moves in recent months, creating processors designed to appeal to entry-level smartphones instead of the cutting-edge versions hyped at Apple events.
From here the possibilities branch out. Apple could create one iPhone Mini and market it to lower-end consumers both in the United States and abroad. It could also create an iPhone Mini for the West and a separate, entry-level phone for eastern markets. The company might also release several versions of the iPhone with varying screen sizes (and costs) to appeal to several different markets at once. Rumors peg more concrete announcements for the middle of 2013, but for now all the hearsay should be taken with a grain of salt.
Whatever plastic or metal-plastic components Apple has been working on, there is no direct evidence of a mini iPhone and Foxconn Electronics, Apple’s manufacturer, has not said a word about it. Many analysts doubt there is much fact in the rumors, since Apple is still in its growth phase for the iPhone 5 and has no reason to move onto other products just yet.
Mad Mobile is the leading provider of mobile-first solutions for the world's top companies and retailers.
Looking for a technology partner who can deliver amazing mobile solutions across multiple mobile interfaces?