Despite a pandemic-induced global economic crisis, Apple is widely believed to be set to release a reduced-priced handset that aims to fill a gap in its lineup, as early as this month.
Reports suggest that the new Apple handset, to be called iPhone SE or iPhone 9, could have a starting price under £400, and generate some growth with the timetable uncertain for a new flagship smartphone for the California giant.
“Apple is viewing this as a low volume, low touch release with little fanfare as the phones are already ready to ship,” Wedbush Securities analyst Daniel Ives said in a research note.
Ives said Apple is likely to be able to sell 20 million to 25 million of the new devices before a new flagship iPhone 12 is ready to ship.
Any new smartphone release would be without the splashy unveiling for which Apple is known, and would rely on online sales with most retail stores closed.
South Korean colossus Samsung last week introduced new smartphones that included a model designed to work on much-hyped new-generation 5G mobile networks and priced less than £500 (US$625).
“People might have less money to spend, but at the same time they want better technology,” said Creative Strategies analyst Carolina Milanesi.
“In the US, where it was very high-end or cheap smartphones and the middle had disappeared, that mid-tier has come back.”
Milanesi said these new phones could have some appeal to financially strained consumers, as some high-end devices reach dizzying prices as much as £1,500 (US$1,640).
Design and production of smartphones launching this year began long before the coronavirus pandemic, meaning makers are locked into model specifications.
“We are getting into the season,” Milanesi said of escalating rumors that Apple and Google are poised to announce new handsets.
A mid-priced iPhone has potential to appeal to users more interested features such as cameras, screens, and battery life and less interested in “gimmicks” prized by early adopters, Milanesi maintained.
“This is not a response to coronavirus for sure; it just seems to suit the market better,” she said.
This article originally posted on Telegraph