There Already Is a Cheap iPhone

on October 2, 2011

Image from Apple invitationThe oddest thing about the rumors bubbling around Tuesday Apple media event is the speculation about a “cheap” iPhone. Gizmodo, for example, published blurry pictures of quality-control rejects from Foxconn’s new plant in Brazil as “proof” of the imminent new cheap iPhone.

We know very, very little about the new hardware that Apple will announce; after losing an iPhone 4 prototype the last time around, Apple has done an even better than usual job of controlling leaks this time. But we can be very sure of what the “cheap” iPhone will be.

Apple’s practice for iPhone releases has been to keep the one-back model in the lineup while introducing a new phone as the premium product. At AT&T today, you can buy a 16 gigabyte iPhone 4 for $199 or an 8 GB iPhone 3GS for $49 (Verizon only has the iPhone 4 because there never was a CDMA version of the 3GS.)

So whatever the new iPhone model is and whatever it is called, we can expect the 15-month-old iPhone 4 to continue to be available, at sharply reduced prices. Maybe Apple will shave the price a bit by offering an 8 GB version, maybe not. But Apple has already said that the new iOS 5.0 software will run on the older iPhone, so it could be an attractive buy.