There Will Not Be a Cheap iPhone
A reason does exist for Apple to make a cheaper option available. The 4S and 4 models are not cheap enough to sell well to people on unsubsidized, no-contract plans. They are excellent, capable phones that run the latest version of iOS. Apple designed them to be the best they could produce at launch, not to be cheap.
So, the market for a cheaper iPhone is there. Apple, however, has a long history of not giving the customer what they want–doubly so when the customer want merely a cheaper version of an existing product.
It’s hard to spend $1000 on a laptop these days, but Apple’s cheapest laptop costs that much. The business case for making a cheaper Macbook exists, but they don’t.
That isn’t to say Apple won’t sell things at cheap price points. The iPod Shuffle is less than $50.
Notice though that the Shuffle is not the logical result of de-content-ing an iPod, dollar by dollar. Instead, it’s an ultra-portable, benignly simple music player built from the ground up to be portable and simple. It is in no way a poor-man’s iPod. The poor man’s iPod isn’t offered by Apple. It’s made by SanDisk. In fact, most Shuffle buyers probably already own another iPod or iPhone.
Given Apple’s history, I do not think they will offer a cheaper iPhone. They may, however, offer a new phone intended for a different kind of customer looking for different things in a phone. And this new phone might indeed be cheaper than the existing iPhone.
A new Apple phone might have a bigger screen or double the battery life or a physical keyboard or be wearable or not a smartphone or something else entirely. It will not, however, be a down-market version of the iPhone.
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons