SAN FRANCISCO — Apple is trying to decide whether it makes sense to offer a cheaper iPhone as it tries to boost sales in less-affluent countries and reclaim some of the market share lost to cheaper phones running Google's Android software, according to a published report.
Wednesday's report in The Wall Street Journal speculated that Apple could lower the iPhone's price by equipping it with an exterior that costs less than the aluminum housing on current models.
A cheaper iPhone could come out as early as this year, or the idea could be tabled for future consideration, as has previously happened. Citing unnamed people familiar with the matter, the Journal said Apple began assessing the pros and cons of making a cheaper iPhone in 2009 and has periodically revisited the notion. Apple Inc. declined to comment to The Associated Press.
Not Jobs' approach
Apple so far has stuck with an approach that has stamped the iPhone as the gold standard, a device that warrants a higher price than other smartphones. Under this tack favored by Apple's late CEO, Steve Jobs, the company sells a premium-priced iPhone that has been updated annually with new features since its 2007 debut.
In an attempt to appeal to more budget-conscious consumers, Apple has been selling older models of the iPhone at discounts before phasing them out.
The latest iPhones start at $199 in the U.S., but those prices are subsidized by wireless carriers, which figure they can make up the costs through monthly service fees over the life of a two-year contract.
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