This wouldn't be the first time, but The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported yesterday on a rumor that Apple is at work on a new iPhone that's cheaper than the current models.
According to the report, the cheaper iPhone that Apple is supposedly developing would answer to the fact the company is under increasing pressure to make a more affordable device in the face of "an onslaught of lower cost rivals powered by Google Inc.'s Android operating system," which are snapping up more and more of the market.
Citing "people briefed in the matter," the report says that the lower-priced iPhone would look more or less like the standard iPhone but would forego the iPhone 5's aluminum backing for a cheaper polycarbonate shell. And on the inside, the rumored smartphone would have some recycled parts from older iPhone models.
True, as the WSJ's Digits noted, even older versions, like the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S, are pretty steep without carrier subsidies. "The iPhone 4 without a contract, a phone two generations old, for example, costs $450 on Apple’s store," writes Digits.
But even coming from the WSJ, others warn not to read too much into this rumor. There was similar speculation as far back as February 2011, and nothing ever came of it.
In tackling the reasons we should be skeptical, Gizmodo probably put it best:
Is Apple working on prototypes made from cheaper materials? I'm sure it is. It's also working on prototypes with more expensive materials, and has been exploring both since the very first iPhone came out. But why would Apple sell an iPhone with iPhone 4S parts when it already sells the iPhone 4S? Why make an iPhone 5 out of cheaper materials when in less than a year's time the iPhone 5 will be discounted heavily to make way for a shiny new iPhone 6 (or 5S, or whatever)?
Nevermind that you can actually buy a cheap iPhone 4S through the Apple store already, or get a free iPhone with a contract. In other words, you can hope and pray for a new, lower-priced iPhone – just don't hold your breath.