Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) is working on a less expensive version of its popular iPhone, according to a report in the New York Times that cites unidentified sources familiar with Apple's plans. However, according to the NYT report, Apple is not planning to release a smaller version of the iPhone.
The NYT's reporting contrasts with a recent article from Bloomberg earlier this month, which citing unnamed sources said Apple was working on both smaller and less expensive iPhones. According to the NYT, a smaller iPhone would run the risk of fragmenting Apple's iOS platform by requiring developers to write new versions of their applications. And, according to analysts, access to Apple's App Store is a key selling point for the iPhone.
As for a less expensive iPhone, such a device could significantly strengthen Apple's mobile game. The company has already managed to ascend to the No. 5 position among all of the world's handset makers on the back of its $600 iPhone. A less expensive version of the device--built with less expensive components culled from previous iterations of the iPhone--could entice additional users in emerging, prepaid markets.
Indeed, A. M. Sacconaghi Jr., an analyst with Sanford C. Bernstein & Company, said a cheap iPhone could help Apple grow its sales of the gadget sixfold, according to the NYT.
Separately, according to the NYT's report, Apple is working on a new version of its MobileMe cloud service, and could make the offering free to its customers. MobileMe currently offers cloud-based email, storage and handset management, and the full version of the service costs $100 a year (Apple recently made its MobileMe phone-location offering free to all iPhone users).
- see this NYT article
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