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back to article Cheap iPhone mini 'makes sense' for world domination

After meeting with Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer, one well-placed analyst sees "several signs" that offering a lower-priced iPhone "makes sense." Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty's reasoning about the release of the long-rumored, downsized iPhone "mini" or "nano", says Forbes, is based on the success of the iPad mini in …

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Anonymous Coward

Thing is other phone brands just use cheaper components or use a lower resolution screen.

This is what you need to do, not shrink it down and make it horrid to use.

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Unhappy

Won't somebody think of the developers?

Another screen size to deal with? Noooooooooo!!!!!!

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Re: Won't somebody think of the developers?

Yeah- it kinda kills the iDevice developers mantra of 'I don't have to develop for multiple screen sizes"

Even though that went out the window with the Retina display.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Won't somebody think of the developers?

"Even though that went out the window with the Retina display."

Not really. If you don't do anything, a non-retina iOS app will work exactly the same and work just as well on a retina display. If you choose, you can double the resolution of your assets (you don't even have to do this all at once) and it will look better. The iPhone 5 is another case where if you do nothing, your app will function exactly as intended (or at least as it used to!). Apple has been extremely conservative and developer-friendly with regard to changing screen resolutions.

That being said, if you want to have good support for all of Apple's screens, it's easiest to use some kind of auto-layout or programmatically laying out your UI, which I'm sure is what most of the popular/better apps do. So if Apple does change screen sizes etc. it should be pretty easy for developers to support it. I make an app and I know that I only had to change a couple lines of code to support the iPhone 5.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Won't somebody think of the developers?

You mean fragmentation, where iOS can't handle different screen sizes.

Oh the irony, as Android copes with these things VERY well in comparison to iOS (which is why the Ipad Mini is such a rubbish aspect ratio).

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Won't somebody think of the developers?

"Oh the irony, as Android copes with these things VERY well in comparison to iOS (which is why the Ipad Mini is such a rubbish aspect ratio)."

The iPad Mini has exactly the same aspect ratio as the iPad. Not sure what you're trying to communicate with your post but at least half of it is wrong.

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NO! It doesn't make sense. It would ruin Apple!

And it would prove that Tim Cook is getting paid by the competition to kill Apple.

Only an absolute idiot otherwise would decide to release a cheap plastic iPhone version.

Apple doesn't need to and must not follow the cheap Google Android product frauds.

Who buys Apple always wants top-notch quality no matter what.

If Tim Cook starts selling crap Apple is doomed.

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Thumb Up

Re: NO! It doesn't make sense. It would ruin Apple!

Agreed.

*lights joss stick, starts whalesong*

Apple has been firmly positioned as an aspirational brand for well over a decade. It differentiates itself by only selling the finest, most polished, most slickly designed shiny-shiny in the business. Owning an iProduct shows you can afford an iProduct, and a lot of people like that.

Producing a cheapo iPhone might provide a profit bump in the short-term, but would harm the brand by eroding prestige and undermining the whole reason that Apple is, well, Apple. I think that would translate into a loss in the long-term, and transform Apple into just another manufacturer of consumer electronics.

As a parallel, look how Burberry screwed its brand by selling cut-price tat to chavs - rolling in cash for a few years, then they bombed out and nearly folded after the fickle chavs moved on to other things.

[Yeah, I get that some people - and perhaps the majority of reg readers - don't but into this schtick, but millions of bozos others do. A visit to any Apple Store shows you that.]

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Anonymous Coward

Re: NO! It doesn't make sense. It would ruin Apple!

True, imagine that your phone rings, you answer it....

Your friends all look at you and say,

"So you got one of those cheap iPhones then"

You never had any street cred with a full fat one, but now you will have even less.

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Silver badge

Re: NO! It doesn't make sense. It would ruin Apple!

Given the number of chavs waving Apple phones around, I'd say they've already reached the Burberry point. Also consider the cheapo ipods they happily sell. Go to any cheap store in the US, and you'll see the stock of cheap ipod and iphone tat. People think of them as Ferraris and Armani, but the reality is not at all like this (also consider, Ferrarri and Armani don't need to slap big light up logos over their stuff - you know what the products are, or if you don't, you're not their target market).

"Yeah, I get that some people - and perhaps the majority of reg readers - don't but into this schtick, but millions of bozos others do."

Well that's the problem with the RDF - they could sell a £50 turd, and people would still consider it prestige - though yes, they'd rather get away with selling £500 turds while they can.

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Re: NO! It doesn't make sense. It would ruin Apple!

"Only an absolute idiot otherwise would decide to release a cheap plastic iPhone version"

Maybe you're forgetting the iPhone 3, which was plastic, and released by Jobs. Not a Jobs fan myself, but he was certainly no idiot...

"Apple doesn't need to and must not follow the cheap Google Android product frauds."

1 - Android are outselling iphones now, by a pretty sizeable margin - surely sales like that is something Apple should follow?

2 - dunno about the last bit - are you saying Android phones aren't products???

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Coat

Re: NO! It doesn't make sense. It would ruin Apple!

you might not have a lot of street cred but at least the iThieves in places like NYC will leave you alone.

coat, not one from a 'chav' supplier.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: NO! It doesn't make sense. It would ruin Apple!

Translation:

I am a unique and important person, just like everybody else who owns an iphone.

How would I stand out from the crowd if all and sundry had an iphone?

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Silver badge

Re: NO! It doesn't make sense. It would ruin Apple!

Yes,

The fact that they are really overpriced and uber controlled by Apple is ignored when selling according to current strategy.

If there was a cut price Apple and it was successful it would destroy existing market. So they would be condemned to make a similar profit from much larger sales. Makes them more vulnerable. Exchange larger market so as to have 1/4 to 1/10th the profit per sale. I don't think so. Apple makes currently x4 to x10 more profit per item because actually they in many cases use parts no more expensive at all. Actually other than Retina display it's hard to think of premium parts in iThings.

Also would need complete cultural change inside Apple.

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Bronze badge

Re: NO! It doesn't make sense. It would ruin Apple!

And which iPhone parody does offer one street cred?

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Silver badge
Childcatcher

A modest proposal V2.0

...for another strategy to sell to the poor.

Why doesn't the company offer a trade-in for a proper, shiny iPhone5? Poor people could sell a kidney, half a liver or maybe a cornea to Foxconn, who then re-sells these under the Apple brand to hospitals worldwide (well, the parts that are rich enough anyway.) The price of the phone could be easily recovered, lots of sick people who would die soon and stop being customers could be saved, and the brand would not just keep it's upmarket value, but also gain a presence in a new, exciting market: branded transplants!

This would be a winner all around, I think.

(Thanks to J. Swift for sparking this idea.)

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WTF?

Re: A modest proposal V2.0 - Exchanging for body parts?

Selling body parts is illegal in China.

Although the Chinese government does, 'harvesting' spare parts from all the people they execute, by lethal injection [for the living] but safe as houses for the spare part recipients.

The CN government doesn't like competition, either.

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Pirate

"a low 40 per cent gross margin"

Do I need to say it?

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Re: "a low 40 per cent gross margin"

And yet you still get posts saying "don't do it Apple, don't make a cheaper phone" - LOL

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Facepalm

Almost amusing...

Everyone so far is commenting as if this were an incontrovertible fact. Please read the article.

It's the 'reasoning' (guesswork) of an analyst (Mystic Meg II).

These analysts have all the track record of a seaside fortune teller - except some dumbo thinks they're worth paying a hell of a lot.

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Coat

Re: Almost amusing...

It's all about the brand, eventually Apple will become just a phone and they will have to play accordingly.

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Boffin

Re: Almost amusing...

"...eventually Apple will become just a phone and they will have to play accordingly..."

Around the same time that BMW or Porsche become just another rep mobile, maybe?

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Anonymous Coward

The iPhone is expensive?

It's a marketing triumph that Apple is still perceived to make luxury products that haters frequently decry as overpriced.

The iPhone 5 unlocked costs $650 from Apple and $199 when subsidized by AT&T in the US, basically the same as Samsung's flagship S3 ($530 and $199 respectively). But nobody is crying bloody murder about how Samsung only makes overpriced status symbols...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The iPhone is expensive?

$650 != $530

No, I wouldn't buy either one.

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JDX
Gold badge

Good idea....

Squeeze 3GS/4 tech into a 'new' iPhone mini handset. Sell ONLY in emerging markets. Bingo - new revenue stream.

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Boffin

Re: Good idea....

Yes, they already sell a smaller cheaper phone - the IPhone 4.

Not a huge amount more you could strip out of the BOM for that to make it significantly cheaper other than profit margin - and why would any company do that unless they happened to have warehouses full of unsold kit?

I guess by the time the iPhone 6 comes out, they could package the '4 into a coloured slim case (like the newer iPod Touches) with a minor refresh like newer connector and strip any cost they can from the design (even if it only saves a few cents). Would look newer and less professional (and be a couple of generations behind flagship models) so could be sold as a lower end product.

Still can't see it happening anytime soon though. Will be more interesting to me to see if Apple go the other way and try and take on Samsung at the high end with much bigger iPhone 6. Not really a lot more you can add onto current gen smartphones in features, so screen size and resolution seems to be the limiting factors to hero phones.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Good idea....

Apple's problem is they already have the lower spec, cheapo phone - it's called the iphone5. Their problem is it's way overpriced and they don't have an easy avenue with catching up to the current generation. They can potentially bolt in a quad core chip, maybe tweak the OS, but the reality is to get back to 'premium' status they would have to have a bigger, FullHD screen, more memory, AND an OS rewrite (from the ground up) ... for June.

Given that this is unlikely, they have to cut their profit margins to avoid joke status and work towards a totally new product for next year. Otherwise they retrench back generally to their usual 6-8% market share position.

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JDX
Gold badge

Re: Good idea....

>>Yes, they already sell a smaller cheaper phone - the IPhone 4

Now go back and read the article. The whole point is people see it as a stigma to buy an old model. By re-packaging a 4/3S as a new model for emerging markets, this stigma is avoided.

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Anonymous Coward

Apple cannot survive a race to the bottom

That is all.

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iPhone for the masses - long term suicide for the Apple brand

This means short term harvesting of the iPhone brand should they launch a phone for the masses. I gather they will lose their premium status, and it goes against Apple's luxury strategy. It'll be interesting to follow.

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JDX
Gold badge

Re: iPhone for the masses - long term suicide for the Apple brand

Not if they only sell it in emerging markets.

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Facepalm

Please, no more iPhone domination

We don't need anymore "world domination" for the iPhone. Let someone else take the thrown for once.

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Pint

There's already an iPhone mini...

It's called the iPhone 4 and 4S. Making a smaller iPhone with a smaller screen than 3.5" just doesn't make any sense. Why would Chinese consumers buy a little toy like that versus an inexpensive Android phone that they don't have to squint at a tiny screen?

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Anonymous Coward

Who cares? Apple shite, snoooooooooz!

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Joke

We shall dub it: The iPad Micro Mini!

The BOFH's boss is going to have an anurism.

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