Report: Apple Prepping Low-Cost iPhone, iPhone 5S
It seems all anyone can talk about heading into this long Memorial Day weekend is the triumphant return of Arrested Development and Apple product gossip—the latter fueled by new rumors about a low-cost iPhone, the “iPhone 5S,” and the fifth-generation iPad.
Japanese news site Macotakara on Friday reported details about possible upcoming devices, suggesting that Apple’s long-rumored cheap iPhone may come in a variety of colors and will begin trial production soon.
Citing two unnamed sources, Macotakara suggested colors for the discount iPhone may include navy, gold-orange, white, and gray, or possibly white, pink, green, blue, and yellow-orange. The common thread: It will not come in the traditional black option.
Despite ongoing rumors of a low-cost iPhone targeted at emerging markets, Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing, in January denied those claims outright. Schiller said that Cupertino “will not blindly pursue market share.”
Still, Makotakara claimed that a field test production of the cheaper device will begin in June, followed by volume production in July ahead of a September launch.
At the same time, Apple is likely working on the follow-up to last year’s iPhone 5, which some market watchers have nicknamed the “iPhone 5S.” This device is also being tipped by the Japanese tech site as coming in multiple colors, including the original black and white, as well as gold and green. It is expected to feature the same basic hardware design as Apple’s current handset, but is rumored to also sport a dual-LED flash and a circular rear microphone hole, placed between the camera and the flash.
Meanwhile, Makotakara also served up some sparse rumors about the fifth-generation iPad, providing little detail beyond suggesting an extra microphone that has supposedly appeared in iPad 5 case prototypes.
One of the best things Apple could do to boost its phone lineup, though, is to make it more accident-proof. A recent MarketWatch report points to high iPhone 5 repairability costs—the most for any iPhone to date. Cupertino regularly charges as much as $229 to replace an iPhone 5 with a broken screen, which balances out to more than the $200 price of a new smartphone with a two-year contract.
The skyrocketing costs come along with the phone’s more expensive components, MarketWatch said. This despite the fact that the iPhone 5′s screen is actually easier to fix than the 4, according to independent fix-it firm iCracked.
Apple CEO Tim Cook said in April that the company will not release any new gadgets until the fall, but the company is expected to unveil its next-generation iOS 7 mobile operating system during June’s Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco.
For more, see PCMag’s review of Apple’s iPhone 5 and the slideshow above.
By Stephanie Mlot, PCMag