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Apple to add a new, cheaper iPhone model

Christopher Mims

Apple is working on a lower-end iPhone that could have a cheaper, polycarbonate case, reports the Wall Street Journal, citing unnamed sources. Many of the parts in this phone could be the same as in current iPhone models, or might be recycled from older models. No information about the price of this new model is available yet.

If true, this represents a significant departure from Apple’s iPhone strategy to date, but it’s not out of step with Apple’s history of offering a range of devices in other categories, such as iPods and notebook computers. Currently, Apple continues to offer older iPhone models at a discounted price even after it releases new models. This move is probably a response to pressure from the increasingly diverse ecosystem of Android handsets manufactured by an array of companies, all of which run the open-source operating system built by Google.

Another reason for Apple’s effort to create a cheaper iPhone could be that, as carriers in the US and elsewhere move away from locking users into two year plans that come with a subsidy for phones, more consumers will want to pay full price for their iPhone. Already, T-Mobile is offering unlocked iPhones starting at around $500.

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