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.

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

Joseph Keller is the former Editor in Chief of iMore. An Apple user for almost 20 years, he spends his time learning the ins and outs of iOS and macOS, always finding ways of getting the most out of his iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and Mac.

  • I'd like to see a cheaper iPhone 5-ish device, so long as it doesn't "feel" cheap. They can use high-quality plastic (polycarbonate?) and make it still feel solid.
  • I figured they were just going to skip this years iphone and wait until next year /s
  • I think the less expensive iPhone should come in a variety if colors and be design similar to the 4S and 5S remain the same
  • I really don't know what to expect considering all the competition. Past experience suggests a similar design but I'll just wait and watch. Lol...
  • Sounds so dull in light of the competition, ios7 better be revolutionary.
  • Wouldn't surprise me if these new iPhones have the same battery size. It's the only thing that sucks about this shitty iPhone line. iOS 7 better change the game because if it doesn't, outside the followers of Apple, this will be a flop.
  • Imagine that... And my upgrade is in August. I see a new IP5 in my future :)
  • apple better increase the screen size on the next iphone.....
  • I hope they stay 4'' because fit perfect in my hand. Better a 5,2 as a deluxe iPhone
  • I am only interested in upgrading if they get a bigger screen. If 5S is just a 5 with a speed boost I will skip it. They better get a bigger screen phone soon or they will loose a lot of customers. The 4" was a joke, just a little taller but not bigger. As big as possible that will still fit in a shirt pocket. The excuse that people want to use it with just one hand doesn't fly with me. Most people do more with text, email, and apps than with talk now days and the smartphone needs to be big enough for that. If all I did was talk, I would want a small flip phone but I have moved past that. Now I need a computer in my pocket and bigger is better as long as it is small enough to take with me.
  • Love the iPhone 5!!! Don't make it bigger. Better a 5,2 '' screen as a phablet
  • All of these rumored colorful iPhone's circulating the Internet seems to be somewhat appealing. When the white iPhone should up on the scene it was all the rave and sales respectively skyrocketed. I can only imagine the exact same happening with a series of different colored iPhone's. I could even go as far as to see certain people getting two or three iPhones in different colors only to match their outfits. Just so long as the Sim card is easily accessible, there ya go! Changing iPhones like one changes their underwear. And for the record: I'd get green.
  • If the cheaper iPhones only have a less expensive casing, it wouldn't be so bad. But if they start to compromise the quality of the internal components, I feel it loses one of the major features that makes the iPhone so solid. Companies can cut all sorts of corners to offer a cheaper product, but if it is too cheap and problematic, it will hurt the apple brand in the end.
  • Apple needs to release a second low cost iphone model... all other Apple products support this strategy... Macbook Pro>Macbook, iPad>iPad mini, iPod>iPod nano, Mac Pro>iMac.... iPhone>??? it would explode Apple's presence in some lower income countries...
  • iPhone - itouch!!! Think more to a phablet
  • Im really only interested in what ios 7 is gona bring, for me the iphone 5 is near perfect, but if the 5s comes with a much better battery ill buy it for sure,
  • That phone needs to be wider....and the different color availability will also make it different.....and iOS 7 needs to be oooh and ahhhhh sweet.
  • I honestly could care less for the cheaper iPhone and feel that it's useless to produce because I really can't see anyone sporting the known "cheaper iPhone" other than children I guess. Also, what casing would it use? Revert back to the plastic casing like the 3G's? Eh. As for the 5S I really think it's unnecessary at this point. They should just work on the 6 (or whatever it will be called) and the software and prepare both for a fall release. The 5 was pretty much a fail to me when comparing to my 4S, so releasing essentially the SAME THING would be pointless. What else are they going to include with it? Better camera? Faster? Just useless upgrades to me as something that can wait until the 6 which should come with more improvements aside from a new casing. I'm looking forward to a new iPad as my first one :-)
  • What also interests/concerns me about the all 4-inch iPhone apps is the compatibility to be scaled up on the iPad. Currently 480x320 doubled is 960x640, which fits on an iPad screen of 1024x768. If you take a 4-inch app (568x320), double that is 1136x640 and that won't fit on an iPad. It's not a problem for most apps that are updated for iPad, but once development for the iPhone becomes 4-inch only, for the few essential apps that aren't iPad compatible, it could cause some trouble.
  • What exactly is the reason for a cheaper iPhone? The 5S comes out for $200, the 5 drops to $100 and the 4s to free. I don't see the need to make a cheaper iPhone.
  • Subsidy and contract price only. The "cheaper" iPhone needs to be off contract (aka Nexus 4).
  • I am still waiting for the first rumor of the new iPad 5 coming out this month to actually happen. I skip a generation on all of the products but I am still on the iPad 2 since the 4 came out of nowhere but I really, really want/need the 5 now.
  • Am pretty excited that Apple seems to be moving back to the Summer as a launch window for the next iPhone. Can't wait to see what Ive has been doing on the software side on iOS7
  • For me they can bring a iPhone 5s and they also have to make a 5.2 size phone just to compete with all these phablets out there! Sometimes apple has to see the truth that a bigger screen is what some people want! I love the size of my iPhone 5 and don't want to change it!
  • I think it will be good to see Apple bring out a less costly iPhone. I don't mean just a cheaply phone that feels like crap in your hand but just made with less costly material. It would further differentiate the high end iPhone from the low end. I would think with all the production they have already invested in the iPhone 5 screen tech they could get a fairly low selling point. I would wager that if they can make the "lower cost iPhone" with a multitude of colors they would sell like hotcakes among the younger demographic who may prefer different colors than just black and white. Think of the possibilities, breast cancer awareness pink, project R.E.D crimson. Carrier exclusive colors could be a draw for the different operators in the US. We know Verizon loves itself some exclusives
  • I still think that they are gonna set the launch date for this Fall. One major factor come to play that makes me come to this conclusion. Apple always released the iPhone every summer since the first iPhone debuted. The reason that the iPhone 4S saw a Fall release in 2011 was due to the fact that Verizon had just started to carry the iPhone earlier that year (January 2011). So for Apple to strike a deal with T-mobile USA to sell the iPhone 5 in April to then turn around and sell the iPhone 5s 3-4 months later would bad move in my eyes. I'm not an expert just basing this on my opinion.
  • Isn´t iPhone 4 and 4S the cheaper iPhone ?
  • Bring on the 5s in August. I agree with others here. iOS 7 better offer hints of future things to come UI wise. Maybe I need to go play with some these other devices that folk are suggesting is making iPhone obsolete. I honestly don't see what all the noise is about. Maybe someone here can help me. In the real world how many people use Tap to Share? Also how well implemented three years in is NFC in day to day use. Not quibbling here just honest questions on my part. And do I really need a 4.7 inch screen or 5 inches for that matter when I have an iPad mini? Just wondering?
  • Excited for a cheaper iPhone!!!! Hope it will be released!!!!
  • i think they should keep up with their colors(black
  • Yearly phone releases makes tmobiles no contract deal look so good.
  • Am I the only one that thinks that all these rumors of the cheap iPhone aren't going to see the light of day. For some reason even though they're all these tech blogs and miscellaneous sites reporting on it, to my knowledge all the way back to the year 2000 Apple has never made anything that was cheap...
  • This always annoys me. Every time I take the plunge and buy a new device, I think "hey at least ill have the best device on the block for a year"
    Then they shorten the release date...
  • Don't care I am actually more excited for iOS 7 I am really hoping to see if Johnny Ive has been able to put his stamp on it.