The rumor that Apple is working on a cheaper iPhone simply won’t stop. We believe it’s absolutely possible that Apple’s working on an entry-level phone that will meet a more affordable price point in China and other emerging smartphone markets, but it seems totally unlike Apple to introduce a product that sacrifices on design and capabilities in order to meet a lower price point.
That’s why we’ve argued that it makes more sense for the cash rich tech giant to sell a slightly tweaked version of its iPhone 4 or iPhone 4S on China Mobile, which uses a proprietary TD-SCDMA network. Instead, pundits and analysts alike still suggest that Apple may be building a plastic iPhone, one that compromises on the chic design of the glass-heavy iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S. Apple won’t sink to new lows, Tim Cook’s CEO recently said during a talk with Goldman Sachs, and we’re still wary that a plastic iPhone is in the company’s future.
“The only thing we’ll never do is make a crappy product,” Tim Cook said during his talk. “That’s the only religion we have. We must do something great; something bold, something ambitious. We want the customer to be at the center of it. We want to enrich customers’ lives.” We’re not saying that a plastic iPhone would necessarily be crappy, but it’s certainly a downgrade from glass and aluminum, two premium materials. Still, we can point to the Lumia 920 as a perfectly fine way to implement plastic into a product, and we can’t forget the millions of Galaxy S III and Galaxy Note II phones that Samsung has sold, both also made of plastic.
Tim Cook stopped there and didn’t confirm or deny reports of a cheaper iPhone, or build on any rumors that Apple has plans to backtrack and launch a plastic iPhone, something it hasn’t done since the iPhone 3GS. We can’t forget that Apple’s Phil Schiller already did deny the reports, however.
We’ll need to sit this out to see how Apple can avoid making a “crappy product” while dropping the price point.