Apple Prepping Low-Cost iPhone 4: Report

Apple is reportedly prepping a low-cost iPhone 4 with an eye toward the lower end of the smartphone market, according to Reuters.

Apple is reportedly prepping a low-priced version of the iPhone 4, perhaps with an eye toward the lower end of the smartphone market.

That report comes courtesy of Reuters, which paraphrases two unnamed people "with knowledge of the situation" in claiming that the low-price iPhone 4 will feature an 8GB flash drive, notably smaller than existing drive capacities on the current iPhone 4.

"Apple may want to push into the emerging market segment where customers want to switch to low- to mid-end smartphones from high-end feature phones, which usually cost $150-200," Yuanta Securities analyst Bonnie Chang told the news service. "But I think for an 8GB iPhone 4 the price is hard to go below $200, so Apple will still need a completely new phone with low specifications for the emerging markets."

Reuters' report reinforces rumors from other publications about a low-price iPhone in development. Earlier this summer, the International Business Times posted screenshots of a purported "iPhone 4S prototype," which "could indicate a lower cost lineup of iPhones."

A low-price iPhone would allow Apple to compete more directly against Google Android, which is appearing on an increasing number of smartphones at the cheaper end of the market. In addition, Apple is widely rumored to be prepping a high-end, next-generation iPhone for release in either September or October.

The latter device, popularly dubbed "iPhone 5" by the press, is reportedly in carrier testing. Other rumors suggest that the next-generation device will feature Apple's proprietary A5 processor, 8-megapixel camera and other hardware. It's more of a certainty that it'll run iOS, a major update to the company's mobile operating system.

Apple has made very clear its intentions to crush Android by any means necessary. Earlier this year, it even paired with rivals such as Microsoft and Sony to submit a winning $4.5 billion bid for some 6,000 wireless technology patents and patent applications previously owned by Nortel Networks. Those patents could have provided Google the cover it needed to repel intellectual-property lawsuits related to Android, and the search-engine giant has claimed its rivals will use their new assets as leverage in an aggressive legal squeeze.

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