Screen Shot 2013-06-13 at 5.49.52 AMI’ll admit this is a hard report to take at face value. Reuters is reporting that Apple has plans to release a $99 iPhone in a variety of colors later this year. While we’ve heard the plastic/color option on many occasions from analystsleakers, and reports, it would seem impossible for Apple to reach the $99 price point without subsidizing the phone somehow. All but the very cheapest Android phones even cost above $100. Apple recently introduced an iPod touch without a rear camera for $229.

For this year, Apple is expected to launch two new models, widely referred to as the iPhone 5S, with new fingerprint technology, and a cheaper version in plastic casing, supply chain sources have said. Apple plans to dress up the cheaper phone in a range of 5-6 colours to differentiate it from the more expensive model that has traditionally come only in black and white.

The U.S. firm has discussed a price of $99 for the cheaper phone, the timing of which could slip to next year, one of the people said.

“Trial production was originally planned to start in June, but the mixing of colours is taking longer than expected as Apple has very high and idealistic standards,” said one source in Asia, adding 20 million plastic iPhones are expected to ship in the October-December quarter.

The iPhone 5S with fingerprint technology has been reported before and seems on track for later this year. We’ll have something more on that shortly.

But next year gets even crazier if the Reuters report is to be believed. 

Supposedly in reaction to Samsung’s success with the phablet form factor, Apple is working with manufacturers to build iPhones or micro iPads with 4.7 and 5.3-inch displays.

Apple is looking at introducing at least two bigger iPhones next year – one with a 4.7-inch screen and one with a 5.7-inch screen – said the sources, including those in the supply chain in Asia. They said suppliers have been approached with plans for the larger screens, but noted it is still unclear whether Apple will actually launch its flagship product in the larger sizes.

iphone_hand
Credit: Ferry Passchier

It is useful here to remember Tim Cook’s words on displays.

I don’t want to say whatwhe will do or won’t do. The way companies compete is with two things, specs and price. In the camera business people say, “I have the most megapixels”. Do you know the speed of an AX processor? Does it really matter at the end of the day? You want a fabulous experience when you use the product. If you look at displays, some people are focused on size. There are a few other things about the display that are important. Some people use OLED displays, but the colour saturation is awful. If you buy things online, you should think twice before you depend on the colour of the OLED dislay. The Retina display is twice as bright as an OLED display. I only bring these points up to say there are many attributes of a display. Apple sweats every detail. We want the best display. I think we’ve got it. I’m not going to comment on what we’re going to do in the future.

…That’s the only religion that we have, is that we must do something great. We want to enrich people’s lives. We sweat the details on those.

Sharp and LG wll make this year’s new iPhone displays and Foxconn with manufacture the high end phone while Pegatron will make the low end plastic iPhone according to the report.

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