Apple getting ready to launch... the iPhone 3GS?

Apple getting ready to launch... the iPhone 3GS?OK boys and girls, it's iPhone rumour o'clock. And for once, it's actually an interesting rumour – by which I mean it's not one related either to the next iPhone's name, launch date or some blue sky spec rumours. It's not even from DigiTimes.

No, it's the rumour that Apple has signed a global distribution deal to roll out the iPhone 3GS – yes, the 3GS – as a prepaid handset in emerging markets around the world.

We'll deal with the details first: Jefferies & Company analyst Peter Misek is behind the claim. He doesn't provide any clues as to just who the “major global distributor” actually is, or the markets that will be involved.

All he says is the wholesale cost of the iPhone 3GS will be in the $200 to $250 region, as opposed to the current iPhone 4S' $375.

Now, let's not mess around here: neither you nor me has any idea whether this is true. You get the feeling that even Peter Misek might not be 100% sure. But if it is on the cards, then it's a bloody good idea.

As the number of iPhones has grown with each passing year (we're up to five now, in case you weren't sure), the suggestion that Apple should expand the range in one form another has steadily gathered steam.

But Apple has never shown the slightest interest in having two different versions of the handset running concurrently.

The simple solution – and one that's already informally in place – is to keep the outgoing generation of iPhone available in limited numbers when the new one is introduced.

But given the massively reduced tooling and development costs, surely Apple would benefit from going further and actually continuing to manufacture older generations of iPhone for developing markets? The reduced cost would massively expand the iPhone's reach in markets where premium smartphones (like the iPhone) are generally seen as luxuries.

The key to it all is actually the iPhone 5. Assuming the next-generation handset does introduce a new form factor and screen size (and let's not forget, both previous models were expected to do the same, and didn't), then there's no harm in keeping an older model such as the iPhone 3GS still active, using it to spearhead Apple's assault on a whole new market of smartphone users.

If it doesn't, then actively manufacturing a low-cost iPhone that looks rather a lot like the current one just makes the current one look expensive.

So in other words, if the iPhone 5 really does see Apple change its smartphone recipe, this could be the real deal. If not, file it where most of the other iPhone rumours end up.

Via BGR

Read more about: iOSApple iPhone 3GS

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7 comments

JanSt / MOD  May. 22, 2012 at 20:42

Yeah, why not?

Unlikely though.

SpeedyG  May. 23, 2012 at 00:41

I don't see Apple been that forward thinking enough to expand outside the West as yet.
I think it'll only happen if people from these emerging markets in the tech arena knock on Apple's door and ask them to at least look into it before bringing the device in small numbers initially to test the waters.

Plus it probably needs a new division to instigate the whole thing.

JanSt / MOD  May. 23, 2012 at 12:44

I don't see Apple been that forward thinking enough to expand outside the West as yet.
I think it'll only happen if people from these emerging markets in the tech arena knock on Apple's door and ask them to at least look into it before bringing the device in small numbers initially to test the waters.

Plus it probably needs a new division to instigate the whole thing.


Apple gained 6-7% smartphone share in China in 3 months... they are at it.

SpeedyG  May. 23, 2012 at 13:53

But I'm saying Globally, which Apple have yet to implement yet. They'll have a few emerging markets they will bring to first. China isn't much of a emerging market really when its not far off been a market leader tbh.

JanSt / MOD  May. 23, 2012 at 16:09

gotcha - you have a point

dcx_badass  May. 23, 2012 at 23:55

But Apple has never shown the slightest interest in having two different versions of the handset running concurrently.

The simple solution – and one that's already informally in place – is to keep the outgoing generation of iPhone available in limited numbers when the new one is introduced


So two different versions then....

Jigy2x  May. 31, 2012 at 04:22

Emerging markets? I've been to Asia, to the Pacific islands, the deserts, and to remote places in Africa. I haven't been to South America. But those places I would consider to be 'developing' markets. All of those places have iPhones occasionally popping up, more so in some places than others, but they're always around when there's a social hierarchy. This cheaper version iPhone is really going to muck with the classes - incorporating the middle-income market with affluent rich *yay!* That's right. They should have Tracfone spearhead the campaign into the US prepaid market, and make that phone compatible to both GSM, and CDMA, then they'll be rocking boats. And Apple is always keen on a little boat rocking.
Yeah. Unlikely. But I hope it does happen.

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