Apple to finally produce a budget iPhone?

Apple to finally produce a budget iPhone 5?
Don't cry. You can still buy the expensive one...

Reports are coming in that Apple could be set to renege on another strategy and finally build a cheap iPhone.

The usually-reliable Wall Street Journal reported that Apple has been researching a lower-end iPhone, something it's been looking at for three years, according to people "briefed in the matter".

However, the plans are now "progressing", and would see the aluminium casing of the iPhone 5 shorn and a cheaper polycarbonate exterior used in its place.

Zombie iPhone

In the same manner as the iPad mini, which repurposed a lot of the iPad 2 internals, the cheap iPhone would use bits of older handsets to see it sold at a lower price point in new markets.

The move would be a change in stance for the Cupertino brand, which has previously used its older handsets as the budget alternative to whatever flagship is being sold. However, even the iPhone 4 still costs a horrendously high amount for a handset that's nearly three years old.

There's also the issue of catering for the next wave of smartphone users: the emerging markets are now moving to smartphones and can't afford the high prices Apple charges to preserve its profit margins.

Make it bigger, make it cheaper

Digitimes, that ever reliable news source, is claiming that Apple is building a budget model just for China, which would feature a larger 5-inch screen. Such a move would make sense in a way, given that Apple hasn't gained as much traction in this key territory as it has in other areas.

It's reported that Samsung is considered a more popular brand in this region, with models like the Galaxy Note 2 performing well among the youth. Tim Cook has also been spotted headed out to this regio - but then again he could simply be a fan of authentic Chinese cuisine.

The iPad mini showed that Apple was willing to bend on previous stances regarding its products - but would you be willing to buy a cheaper iPhone if it meant you knew you were getting a substandard experience compared to the cooler kids?

Gareth Beavis
Formerly Global Editor in Chief

Gareth has been part of the consumer technology world in a career spanning three decades. He started life as a staff writer on the fledgling TechRadar, and has grown with the site (primarily as phones, tablets and wearables editor) until becoming Global Editor in Chief in 2018. Gareth has written over 4,000 articles for TechRadar, has contributed expert insight to a number of other publications, chaired panels on zeitgeist technologies, presented at the Gadget Show Live as well as representing the brand on TV and radio for multiple channels including Sky, BBC, ITV and Al-Jazeera. Passionate about fitness, he can bore anyone rigid about stress management, sleep tracking, heart rate variance as well as bemoaning something about the latest iPhone, Galaxy or OLED TV.