When analyst, Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray, isn’t predicting Apple’s future TV set plans, he does do analysis on current products. His research on the current SIM-free smartphone prices has lead him to believe that Apple is extremely likely to release a cheaper iPhone towards the final third of the year. With the market potential at around $135 billion this year alone, he believes Apple will be targeting the low-end market with a competitively priced device.
As reported by AppleInsider:
“We believe a lower priced iPhone will be a positive for AAPL shares for two reasons,” he writes. “First, despite its lower margin, it should accelerate gross profit growth given the size of the low-end market (we estimate $135B in 2013); second, investors have historically bought into AAPL ahead of major new product releases.”
Tim Cook was recently questioned on the rumors of a cheaper iPhone in his call with Goldman Sachs. His response – predictably – was that Apple always strives to make great products, not meet a certain market target, or make a “cheap” device.
But a simple look at the current unlocked smartphone prices shows that there’s really only one area of the market currently unoccupied by the iPhone. But, that doesn’t necessarily mean Apple’s going to go there. When netbooks and laptops were going for between $150-$500, Apple released a $1,000 MacBook Air. So, we know from history that this kind of analysis means very little when it comes to how Cupertino’s designers think about new devices.
That’s not to say we won’t see one. We don’t know. But you can be sure we’ll keep an eye on any developments as they crop up.