Apple analyst Gene Munster is at it again with his predictions. Following on from his prediction that Apple will launch iTV in 2013 he has now made one that says Apple will launch an unsubsidized iPhone in 2014, for around $200. Ok, so you probably paid that anyway for your brand new iPhone 5 but the chances are that was through a carrier. The carriers purchase these phones from Apple at full price, around $600 and then sell them on to the consumer at a low price on signing a minimum term contract. Their hope is that they will replace the difference in extra data charges from the customer.
Unfortunately, this kind of system is not supported in countries like India and China hence the reason Apple only have a very small market share there. Consumers in these newly developing markets cannot pay full price for a sim-free device, at least not Apple’s prices but they are the markets of the future and there are potentially billions of new consumers just waiting in the sidelines.
In order to benefit from this dormant section of the market and increase their market share Apple need to do something, and quick. It is rumoured that the new phone will be a cheaper version of the iPhone with fewer features and no requirement for a carrier to buy the phone at $200. However, the market doesn’t want to see this as a last generation iPhone so maybe Apple should consider building something completely different but retaining the functionality of the current highly successful iPhone. At the moment, when a new iPhone is released the previous ones are reduced in price but not everybody wants to own an old phone and the general consensus is that everyone should have the option of being able to afford to buy new models as and when they are launched.
Right now, it’s a case of waiting to see if Gene Munster has made the right prediction but, if he is right then it will open up a brand new and possibly very lucrative market for Apple.
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