Production on iPhone 5s rumored to be starting this quarter for summer release, less expensive iPhone along for the ride

Apple may be preparing to begin production on the iPhone 5s at some point in this quarter, with plans to release it at some point this summer. This lines up with what iMore heard, which pointed to an August launch date for the phone. Apple is also working on the rumored low-cost iPhone, which could also be launched later this year according to the Wall Street Journal:

At the same time, Apple continues to work with its manufacturing partners in Asia on a less expensive iPhone that could be launched as soon as the second half of this year, these people said. The 4-inch device will likely use a different casing from the higher-end iPhone. Apple has been working on different color shells for the phone but its plans remain unclear. Production on iPhone 5s rumored to be starting this quarter for summer release, less expensive iPhone along for the ride

The low-cost iPhone may be geared towards developing nations, with Apple being able to offer the device for a lower price without a contract when compared to the flagship iPhone. It’s also possible that Apple may forego the current cycle of introducing a new phone, then moving the previous model’s price down by $100.

Currently, Apple only sells one iPhone with a 4-inch screen. If they follow the pattern of previous years, the iPhone 5s will be introduced at $199 on contract, with the iPhone 5 moving down to $99, and the iPhone 4S, presumbably, moving down to $0. There are two problems here. One, the iPhone 4S becomes the odd man out at this point. Second, starting May 1, Apple is going to require that all new iPhone apps and app updates support the 4-inch screen of the iPhone 5. While Apple won’t by any means cut off support for the 3.5-inch devices, they will want their customers to be able to take advantage of these updated apps.

Apple may seek to unify the screen size of the entire line by introducing a new iPhone that can they can make for a low enough cost to be able to sell it in place of the iPhone 4S. It might even be just an iPhone 5 with a cheaper casing.

What do you think the low-cost iPhone will be? Would a summer launch be too soon for the iPhone 5s, or just right? Sound off below in the comments.

Source: The Wall Street Journal