Cheap iPhone Arriving Within 2013 : Budget Apple Smartphone Has Plastic Shell and Less Powerful Specs Compared to iPhone 5S

Yesterday, Ming-Chi Kuo, an analyst at KGI Securities who have given us pretty accurate insider information on the then yet-to-be-announced Apple iPad Mini and iPhone 5, disclosed that the Cupertino company is indeed working on a cheap iPhone and that the product will definitely be released within this year.

Photos courtesy of Bastiaan Vroegop

He made no mention of possible names for the device but he did describe how it might look and which materials would used in its production.

cheap iphone 2013

According to Ming-Chi Kuo, the budget iPhone will sport a shell made of fiberglass and plastic and will come replete with less powerful innards and technical specifications compared to the high-end follow-up to the iPhone 5, which most Apple fans are already referring to as the iPhone 5S.

cheap iphone 2013

Based on leaked images of the device, it appears that the cheap plastic iPhone will flaunt a design identity similar to that of the aluminum-clad iPod Touch Fifth Generation. For one, the back features slightly rounded or curved edges as opposed to the very structured sides of the iPhone 5.

As yet, we don't know just how cheap this budget-version of the iPhone will be but Ming-Chi Kuo says that will be so affordable that network carriers across the globe should have no second thoughts about entirely covering the cost of the LTE-capable device and offering it as a free bundled handset with their postpaid plans.

TP Thoughts:

The idea of a cheap iPhone is cool and all - especially for budget-conscious consumers - but will it actually see fruition? In opinion, it's not too far-fetched. I mean, Apple - under Tim Cook - has already released a smaller and more affordable (albeit, not by much) version of the iPad, so an iPad Mini counterpart for the handset category could very well be already in the works.

For me, the real question here is 'Will this work for Apple?' I mean, one of the main selling points of the iPhone is that it's a high-end and aspirational device. When you say iPhone, you immediately think of those adjectives along with expensive and exclusive. That said, I think that a cheap iPhone isn't only ironic but can also negatively affect the image and branding of iPhone as a whole.

Likewise, a budget version of the handset can and will definitely cannibalize on the sales of the premium variant just like how iPad Mini affected the sales figures of the New iPad and the iPad with Retina Display. So at the end of the day, Apple will just have ask itself, "Will the profit from these cheap plastic phones be more than enough to compensate for the whatever adverse effect it can have on the sales of the flagship release?"

There are a handful of downsides to consider but one good thing that a budget iPhone can accomplish is that it can introduce iOS to a lot of users previously alienated or turned off by the hefty price tag of Apple's mobile devices. Maybe by letting them experience the wonders of iPhone for less, they'd be more willing to shell out some big cash on a premium version of the iPhone with far more powerful technical specifications in the future.