updated 07:45 am EDT, Tue August 23, 2011
iPhone 4 8GB and iPhone 5 production plans tipped
Apple's often rumored cheap iPhone could just be a low-capacity model. Leaks early Tuesday had Apple making an 8GB iPhone 4 with flash memory from "a Korean company," almost certainly Samsung. While the Reuters tip didn't give out a price, it's likely to go to $99 or less on contract given talk of its using plastic in place of some of the glass for the current 16GB and 32GB smartphones.
Meanwhile, the iPhone 5 was still on track and might arrive early, some sources added. Once again steering back towards a conservative description of the upgrade, the rumor had it being very close to the iPhone 4 but with a larger display, an eight-megapixel camera, and a "better antenna." Most also anticipate a dual-core A5 processor, a dual-mode radio, and possibly 64GB of storage, although none of these was mentioned.
In spite of insistences on an October release, the new sources had the launch happening in late September. Whether or not that referred just to the announcement or to the actual release wasn't as evident.
Production plans also weren't as clear. Combined, the iPhone 5 and 8GB iPhone 4 would make up 45 million units, but over what time span wasn't said. It could refer to all 2011 production, since tips have pointed to there being 26 million iPhone 5s. iPhone 4 production could make up for the rest given both the existing model and the switch to the new, cheaper version. Foxconn (Hon Hai) and Pegatron were already known to be suppliers.
Many anticipate the iPhone 5 and the cheap iPhone 4 to be litmus tests for Android's health now that AT&T no longer has an exclusive. Both existing iPhones are still the top individual smartphones in the US over one and two years into their lifespans. The iPhone 5 is expected to catalyze high-end sales and keep Apple competitive, but the iPhone 4 could be the wildcard as it upgrades the baseline of Apple's lineup and could give Verizon its first cheap iPhone, putting pressure on similarly budget-focused Android hardware.