A cheaper iPhone, is China worth it?
A cheaper iPhone, sounds like a dream come true right? I donít think so. Iím not sure Apple would make a cheaper iPhone. The question is whether or not China is worth it. As far as in the United States (I canít speak for other countries as I donít live there), the older iPhoneís become cheaper as new iPhoneís come out. Right now you can upgrade to an iPhone 4S (16GB) for $100 and to an iPhone 4 (8GB) for free. While you will lose some features and specs in the older iPhoneís, they are still solid devices and can hold their own against the current competition. So why would Apple make a cheaper iPhone? China. China wonít sell the current iPhoneís because they are too expensive, and will only sell them if Apple makes a cheaper iPhone.
Now, to be fair, weíve seen Apple do a couple things recently that Steve Jobs said would never happen. The iPhone 5 with its 4 inch display and the iPad Mini with its 8 inch display. So will Apple do things that Jobs never wanted to do? Of course, if thereís money in it. But would they make a cheaper iPhone even if there is money in it? Maybe, maybe not. Apple holds to a standard of quality products. Would a cheaper iPhone still do the things a ďpremiumĒ iPhone can? Surely it would, but what would be the cost? Specs and hardware. Thatís how you make a cheaper iPhone. Okay, so buy cheaper hardware you say? That takes us back to the plastic body and really reduced specs. And selling a product as new with such reduced specs and plastic body can hardly be marketed as a quality product. Fact, plastic is and feels cheap.
So letís say Apple does go ahead and makes the new plastic body reduced spec cheaper iPhone, whoís going to buy it? Who is going to pay $200-300 off contract, probably $0-100 on contract, for a new iPhone that is solidly beat by the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S for the same price? Obviously some people will because itís new, some people view new as better rather than performance. However, this would allow Apple to sell an iPhone in China, which has a population roughly four times that of the United States. Even with a cheaper iPhone that is a good chunk of change.
But youíve also got to look at business mentality. Business mentality is a synonym for Spinal Tap mentality. You can make a bigger profit selling more of a cheaper product, but at the cost of the price tag becoming smaller. Business donít like price tags becoming smaller. They want to see sales of as high a price as possible. In Appleís case, thatís $650 an iPhone rather than $200 per iPhone. Again, the main question is, is China worth it? Will Apple sacrifice the premium feel, premium specs, and the price tag for the China market? Iíd like to say no, but seeing what Apple has done, and knowing how greedy the world is, I wouldnít be surprised to see Apple make a cheaper iPhone to sell in China, exclusively.