For the last several months, the rumor mill has been chock full of reports about what Apple may have in store for the iPhone this year, especially a brand-new low-end iPhone model to satisfy customers with lower budgets. According to a new report straight out of China, Apple plans on to ship the new low-end smartphones with a Snapdragon chipset, as opposed to the A6 and A6X devices currently used on all of the Cupertino company’s recent iOS devices. This is not new though, as previously a report in January also pointed to a Snapdragon SoC for the low-cost iPhone.
The Snapdragon chipset sound like perfect candidates to make their way onto Apple’s low-end smartphone: indeed, they come packed with an on-board cellular modem, WiFi and Bluetooth, all essential parts of any iOS device, although delivered at a much lower cost than Apple’s current solution. Some Snapdragon chips offer the bonus of 4G LTE connectivity, although Apple is reported to stick with 3G-only for now, since the new device is said to be aimed primarily in developing markets where LTE coverage is currently scarce.
The report shines some more light over what other components might be bundled in: allegedly, Renesas Electronics will produce the device’s LCD drivers, while Toshiba, Elpida, Micron Technology, SK Hynix and SanDisk will all be asked to produce NAND flash memory. There is currently no word on how much storage capacity the upcoming low-end iPhone may ship with.
This new report is just the latest in a string of various rumors suggesting that Apple is worried about the growing market share of low-end smartphones, particularly those running Android, which are incredibly popular due to their low price while still being bundled with an established operating system capable of running the latest mobile apps. Currently, Apple addresses the low end of the market by keeping their older iPhone models on the shelves: indeed, alongside the iPhone 5, the iPhone 4S and 4 are still available for heavily discounted prices. Creating a specific low-end model would help simplify Apple’s product line and remove the company’s requirement to support old devices with new versions of iOS.
Apple CEO Tim Cook has recently denied the existence of a low-end iPhone model, arguing that Apple has never catered for the low end of the market, although repeating reports make the prospect of a low-end iPhone increasingly likely.
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