The year has barely begun and iPhone 5 is already looking obsolete. The Apple Rumor Mill is buzzing with activity already, discussing probable 2013 releases like a Fifth Generation iPad and an iPhone 5S.
One of the most interesting potential products being discussed on Applephile blogs and forums is something tech-heads are deeming the “iPhone Mini.”
Last year may have been the year of the big smartphone, with many loving the hefty screens of the iPhone 5, Motorola’s Razr and Samsung’s Galaxy Note II. Some of these beast phones bordered on a small tablet computer and could barely fit in the average pocket.
This year could see a return to the “smaller is better” philosophy that guided the cell phone industry for most of the past decade. The “iPhone Mini” is rumored to be simpler, cheaper and nicely pocket-sized.
“The idea behind a smaller iPhone is simple – make it more affordable which in turn will open it up to a much larger user base,” writes Shawn Knight for TechSpot. “It’s no secret that Samsung is winning the proverbial smartphone battle as recent data shows the Korean electronics giant is expected to account for one third of all smartphones sold this year. Apple’s iPhone, on the other hand, is forecasted to capture 21 percent of the market, just a single percentage point more than last year.”
Industry experts are in agreement with Knight.
“We believe Apple will have to launch an 'iPhone Mini' at some point over the next three years to address the hundreds of millions of prepaid users worldwide that cannot afford the current iPhone,” analyst Neil Mawston told CNET.
However, Mawston thinks debuting a tiny iPhone this year would be a dumb move for Cupertino.
“The iPhone 5 is growing fast and profitably right now, so there is limited incentive for Apple to launch a profit-squeezing 'iPhone Mini' this year,” Mawston continued, “We expect the 'iPhone Mini' to be more likely next year, in 2014, when Apple's penetration of the global postpaid smartphone market will be nearing saturation and Apple will be forced to discover fresh growth streams elsewhere.”
That means you’ll have to hang tight if you want an iPhone but don’t want to pay upwards of $500. A $200 to $250 model could very well be in the works, but you might have to wait years until it hits the market. Consumers flocked, and continue to flock, to the iPhone 5, so Apple CEOand the rest will probably let that version play out before releasing the bargain phone.