Apple will expand its product lineup with a smaller, cheaper smartphone. That's the prediction of a market analyst, anyway.
Neil Mawston from Strategy Analytics sent this note to investors today:
We believe Apple will have to launch an 'iPhone Mini' at some point over the next three years to address the hundreds of millions of prepaid users worldwide that cannot afford the current iPhone. The iPhone 5 is growing fast and profitably right now, so there is limited incentive for Apple to launch a profit-squeezing 'iPhone Mini' this year. We expect the 'iPhone Mini' to be more likely next year, in 2014, when Apple's penetration of the global postpaid smartphone market will be nearing saturation and Apple will be forced to discover fresh growth streams elsewhere.
A Familiar Refrain
This isn't the first time there have been reports that a smaller iPhone is in development -- rumors of such a device have cropped up every now and then since 2007.
The arguments for this device are always the ones given by Mawston from Strategy Analytics: Apple needs to make the iPhone available to customers who want inexpensive smartphones, especially in the developing world.
The iPhone 4 is available in the U.S. for no money down, but getting that price requires signing up for an expensive multi-year contract. Without the contract, it is $450. By contrast, in emerging markets like Malaysia, popular BlackBerry handsets are available for as little is $275.
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