Piling on the Wall Street Journal’s cheap iPhone rumor resurrection, Bloomberg is reporting that the budget-friendly device Apple is working on will cost in the $100-$150 range. It would debut, at the very earliest, at the end of this year.
Apple’s target with a second-tier iPhone would be developing markets, where iPhone costs aren’t kept down through the grace of AT&T and can typically run more than $700 a unit. Bloomberg’s not clear if the price it quotes includes carrier subsidies. It’s also not clear whether the phone will actually ever see the light of day; the report says it would appear in late 2013 "at the earliest," and the WSJ was clear that it may not happen at all.
Two things are certain, though. Apple’s been exploring this line for at least two years, and has lived through two cycles of iPhone updates just fine without it. Would a cheaper handset fortify Apple against the legions of cheap Android phones in emerging markets? Of course it would. But it would also weigh down the aura of iPhone invincibility, one that’s already taken a hit with the success of the Galaxy S III and other top-tier competitors. [Bloomberg]