Rumor: Low-cost iPhone Coming This Summer

I'm starting to believe rumors of a forthcoming low-cost iPhone, as a number of market analysts continue to get word of the device from their contacts in Apple's supply chain. 

Yet it is still unclear whether or not the phone will have a Retina display. AppleInsider posted today giving details from yet another market analyst with an inside scoop. The analyst says it will be one of several new iPhones launched this summer and will have a non-retina 4-inch display and plastic case. However, according to MacRumors, another market analyst who usually has good sources said the low-cost iPhone will have a retina display.

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So what would the price be for such a device? It would cost less than $400, according to AppleInsider. That's more than the $199 for a new iPhone 5, but note that's the price for an unsubsidized, contract-free phone. Apple wants to get into more of the world's developing countries, such as India, where an unsubsidized price of $650 is out of reach. According to the rumors, Apple's intention is to have an iPhone priced more suitably for this market.

One thing I don't understand is that Apple already has two low-cost iPhones: the iPhone 4S and iPhone 4, the latter of which is free with a contract. Apparently, the unsubsidized (contract-free) cost of the low-cost iPhone would be even lower than that of these earlier-generation iPhones.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out. And even if there is a low-cost iPhone, it's not clear whether it will be available in the U.S. market.

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Jim Karpen holds a Ph.D. in literature and writing, and has a love of gizmos. His doctoral dissertation focused on the revolutionary consequences of digital technologies and anticipated some of the developments taking place in the industry today. Jim has been writing about the Internet and technology since 1994 and has been using Apple's visionary products for decades.