Apple is planning to launch a cheaper iPhone model in the first half of next year to help boost its sales in China and other emerging markets, according to a report that shows Apple following other tech giants competing with budget smartphone brands.
The new model is seen as the successor to the iPhone SE, which Apple launched in 2016 and which has since been phased out, according to the Wednesday report from Japanese newspaper Nikkei.
If pricing matches that of the previous SE model, then this would allow Apple fans to get the latest iPhone model for around 140 dollars less than the current cheapest model, the iPhone XR.
With a 4-inch screen, the iPhone SE was smaller than its bigger brother, the iPhone 6. The screen in the new edition, on the other hand, should be as large as the iPhone 8 at 4.7 inches, Nikkei reports, citing people familiar with Apple’s plans.
DPA International described this new model as a departure for Apple, which for the longest time has relied on a strategy of staying out of the highly competitive market for inexpensive smartphones.
But Apple is apparently struggling to compete with the numbers of technically advanced Android phones from brands like Xiaomi and Honor, available for as little 300 to 400 dollars.
Analysts such as Anshul Gupta of market researcher Gartner expect that an increasing part of the smartphone business will take place in this price category, especially in important growth markets such as India.
Apple’s smartphone sales have been dropping recently, mainly due to weaker sales in China where a new budget phone might help.