updated 11:44 am EST, Tue January 8, 2013
Phone will still allegedly have larger display
Apple is planning on releasing a low-cost iPhone for China and other relatively poor countries in the second half of the year, say Digitimes supply chain sources. The people in fact claim to have seen a sample of the phone, which will allegedly have a larger display than the iPhone 5 despite the cheaper price. The hardware is also expected to have a new exterior design.
The rumor may be dubious, as Digitimes has a mixed track record, and numerous earlier reports and investor memos have made inaccurate suggestions that a low-end iPhone was in development. Apple has said it consciously prefers to target high-end buyers, and to meet demand for cheaper phones, it has so far seen decent sales by keeping older models on the market.
The sources speculate, though, that the success of the iPad mini may have changed the company's mind. They also suggest that updated Qualcomm Snapdragon processors might pave the way, but Apple has used customized ARM processors since the iPhone 4.
Separate sources tell Digitimes that Apple is planning to work with China Mobile on a TD-SCDMA version of the iPhone to expand its footprint in the country. This might contradict other reports which have indicated that Apple is simply waiting for China Mobile to grow out its LTE network. Even though Mobile is the world's largest cellular carrier, its incompatibility has let China Unicom and China Telecom control official Chinese iPhone sales.