Ready for a cheaper iPhone at $300 unsubsidized? Well, an analyst has ventured a guess as to when it can happen. Me, I think the sooner the better. You know, competition and all. But forget when but let's focus on what it can do to the market.
Take the iPhone 3GS that debut in 2009 at $200 for the low-end model. And today, it's at $50 if you're willing to sign up for a two-year contract. And yes, since the iPhone 4 became available on Verizon, the 3GS has helped AT&T fend off competition from its main rival. While the $50 3GS has only 8 GB compared to the iPhone 4 with 16GB or more, it remains popular for a device that is about two years old.
Suppose Apple continues to keep the 3GS on the market beyond this year after the next iPhone hits the market. Whether it'll be called iPhone 4S or iPhone 5, Apple can sell the 3GS for much less unsubsidized or simply give it away if mobile users are willing to sign up for a two-year commitment.
Also keep in mind that the 3GS is nothing that users want to consider "dated" at all. Compared to a lot of "smartphones" out there, it is still capable of running hundreds of thousands of apps with arguably the best mobile OS on the market. Right now, I'm using an iPhone 2G with iOS 3. While I miss a new features on it that my iPod touch running iOS 4 have and that it is on EDGE, it has handled my mobile needs most of the time. And this is a 2007 iPhone!
The speculation by Jefferies analyst Peter Misek in this ZDNet post suggests that such an iPhone could allow Apple to disrupt its competitors further. Rather than putting it that way, I like to think that still powerful iPhone like the 3GS can bring to the masses mobile tech that has previously was inaccessible to a large portion of the mobile market due to cost.
Imagine a $300 iPhone running off Virgin Mobile's $35 monthly plan with unlimited data! If you want disruptive, that'll what I'm talking about!
Obviously, Apple's main competition at this point is Android. It'll be interesting to see Apple and its Android competitors go head-to-head in this segment of the market. And keep in mind that while the analyst has made a guess when we'll see this iPhone, Tim Cook from Apple has already they will address it soon.
More at ZDNet.