Apple may release two iPhones in September
Apple might surprise consumers this year by releasing not one but two iPhones, an analyst for Deutsche Bank Equity Research says.
Chris Whitmore predicted that at the same time Apple releases a fifth-generation iPhone, probably in September, the company will also show off a speedier version of the existing iPhone 4 that consumers will be able to buy for $350 without a contract. The lower-cost phone, he said, would feature a prepaid calling plan in which consumers could pay monthly for a limited number of talk minutes.
Apple's iPhones are generally among the more expensive smartphones available. But a souped-up iPhone 4, Whitmore believes, could help Apple compete with less-expensive phones from other companies.
Whitmore said that sales of lower-cost, "mid-range" smartphones are expected to grow three times as fast as sales of premium models, such as the current iPhone. By 2014, shipments of mid-range smartphones could surpass those of premium ones, Whitmore said.
"We believe the time is right for Apple to focus on driving penetration into the mid-range smartphone market and drastically expand its addressable market," he said, noting that Nokia Corp. and Research in Motion Ltd., which sell lower-cost handsets, are both struggling.
-- Salvador Rodriguez
Image: A screen shot of a graph in Whitmore's note showing the expected growth of mid-range smartphones. Credit: Deutsche Bank Securities