Apple’s iPhone plans continue to leak, or so it seems as the pre-June rumour mill continues to drive through the gears – now a new report claims we’re going to see not one, not two but three different models of the device.
These reports confirm our earlier “Apple plots iPhone diversity roadmap” story, which claimed Apple plans to diversify its iPhone product range in order to widen its reach in the mobile phone market.
The latest leak comes from the Taiwan Economic News, which claims three models of the iPhone may appear. The first will be a smaller, lighter handset with a plastic rather than aluminium magnesium case.
This device will weigh just 110-120g, less than the 135g weight of the current model. It will also offer a 2.8-inch screen, rather than the 3.5-inch screen currently offered on the iPhone.
The smaller model won’t offer 3G support. Instead, Apple intends selling a higher-specified iPhone equipped with such support. This handset will also offer GPS and will have a larger case, presumably more or less the same dimensions as the existing handset.
Finally, Apple plans to maintain its current generation iPhone as a third middle option.
“Components suppliers in Asia pointed out that Apple has asked them to ready materials for the new phones by the end of next month. They are asked to deliver components enough for 300,000 phones in the initial stage and components enough for three million phones in June,” reports the Taiwan Economic News.
Multiple rumours meanwhile suggest Apple will also mark June’s introduction of the new generation iPhones – and the next version of the software that runs all iPhones – with a widespread launch of the device to multiple companies, perhaps on a carrier-agnostic sales model.
Australia, South America, Canada, India, Russia, many European states, Korea and more all seem set to see the product launch, perhaps as part of an overweaning push to help Apple secure the level of sales it requires in order to meet its ten million sales target by the end of the financial year.
UPDATE TO ADD: That Apple will diversify its iPhone range isn’t really the question, at present the discussion should focus on when. The analysts at Piper Jaffray this morning also observed Apple to be likely to diversify the range in a note to clients (as reported by Apple Insider): "We continue to expect Apple to offer a family of iPhones (2-3 separate models) in the first half of 2009, including lower priced ($200-$300) models. Just as the company slowly diversified the iPod lineup and entered lower price points with every new version of the iPod, we expect Apple to launch new models of the iPhone at lower price points in CY09. This expectation, along with the expectation for lower price points, and world wide availability of the phone, is critical to our CY09 iPhone estimate of 45m units," the analysts explained.