Rumours this morning suggest that Apple are seriously exploring the idea of markedly expanding their range of iPhones. The most dramatic development would be the introduction of an iPhone Mini in September alongside their anticipated 5S. The suggestion however is that the Cupertino based tech giants are planning to introduce a series of iPhones, including:
1) A significantly larger screened iPhone to compete with rival ‘Phablets’
2) A watered down iPhone Mini
3) A wider range of colour schemes, including pink and blue based models
This information has been suggested by four people who are close to Apple in California, and it comes on the back of declining share performance, investor concern and the need to keep up with Samsung, who now have up to 75% of the smart phone market in the developed world.
Apple heralded the era of the smartphone when they launched their first iPhone in 2007. As the iPhone 5S prepares to mark the seventh iteration of the device this September, it will enter a market which has never been more competitive. In Samsung Apple have a highly aggressive and compotenat competitor, who have driven the smart phone market forward by pioneering the phablet and by introducing a waft of products across different price brackets.
Competition on a price point with Samsung is hard for Apple, despite their healthy profit margins. The South Korean based Samsung utulise the Google Android OS, which reducing their costs down to the hardware side only. By contrast, Apple utilise a closed network consisting of their own hardware and software. We could spend all day debating the merits of each methodology, but ultimately Samsung have lower overheads. Samsung phones are also developed using cheaper materials. Plastic replaces the toughened glass and aluminium combination favoured by Apple on the iPhone, and its a similar story on the insides of the Samsung devicdes. Apple are notorious for being very precise with all areas of product delivery, from the packaging that their devices ship in right the way through to the way that the hidden insides are presented. All of this adds cost.
It’s therefore rumoured that the iPhone Mini will feature the cheaper materials favoured by Samsung, enabling it to enter the market at a cheaper price point. The strongest suggestions yet are that the iPhone mini will be a rework of the current iPhone 5. This saves on production costs for Apple, and it would arm them with the perfect device to conquer China and other developing markets.
Finally, it’s possible that Apple will choose to announce the iPhone mini prior to the September launch of their line leading 5S in order to avoid distracting from the 5S.
Rumours are also circulating that suggest the 5S may feature a phablet sized screen, which would mark the largest upgrade to the visual appearance of an iPhone since the launch of the iPhone 4. More on that as we get it.