Repeated Apple tipster, analyst Gene Munster has suggested that Apple with fight back against the rise of Android handsets by launching a new cut-price ‘iPhone for the masses.'
Having dominated the high-end smartphone sector since the arrival of the original iPhone, industry analysts have predicted that Apple will follow the recent iPhone 5 release date with the launch a new, cheaper, iPhone device tasked with attracting the budget and mid-market users.
"We believe the delta between smartphone market growth and iPhone growth will push Apple to release a lower priced device despite comments to the contrary," Gene Munster, an analyst with Piper Jaffray said. In a note to investors, Munster added: "Looking back historically, Apple always priced Macs as the higher end of the market and ultimately the iPad, and now the iPad mini, became the 'Mac for the masses.'"
Suggesting that Apple “needs” to launch a more wallet friendly iPhone offering in order to close the gap on Android and secure the future of its iOS mobile platform, Munster has predicted that the far from confirmed entry-level iPhone will host a stripped back array of specs, ditching the current Retina display in favour of a $200 (£123).
With the smartphone market growing 45 per cent year-on-year during Q3, Munster’s comments echo those of fellow analyst Ben A. Reitzes of Barclays Capital who earlier this month suggested Apple would be forced into outing its first cheaper iPhone offering.
"We recognize that a key test of Apple's long-term model will be whether the company can capture the growth associated with a new wave of emerging market consumers who could enter the smartphone market through low priced Android devices," Reitzes said in his own investor briefing.
"In our opinion, Apple can benefit from those upgrading to higher end smart phones later on but the company also needs to make sure it can 'hook' customers into the Apple ecosystem early enough in the upgrade cycle to prevent more customers from developing loyalty to Android.
"We imagine an iPhone at a low price point to capture the initial smartphone purchase from customers upgrading from feature phones — pushing new customers into the Apple ecosystem."
Disagreeing with Muster on pricing, Reitzes added: "We believe Apple can sell a phone with an inexpensive casing for emerging markets and a (bill of materials) below $150."
Would you be tempted by a cheaper iPhone handset or would such a device detract from Apple’s premium, high-end appeal? Share your thoughts on the matter with us via the Trusted Reviews Twitter and Facebook feeds or through the comment boxes below.