When a random analyst decides to make a prediction on something in the world of tech, enthusiasts usually know to take it with a grain of salt. That is not quite what is going on today. Deutsche Bank analyst Chris Whitmore has everyone talking about his speculation that we can expect not one, but two iPhone 5 models in September. More specifically, an iPhone 4S and iPhone 5 are coming. This tiny tidbit of information based on virtually nothing has generated an unprecedented amount of feedback. But does it really make sense for Apple to create a line of products out of the iPhone like they did with the iPod?
When the first iPod launched in 2001, there was just one model available. It was not until 2004 when Apple released the smaller iPod mini that the singular product became a product line. Eventually, it expanded into the four models we know of today. The iPhone takes a different route. At WWDC 2009 after unveiling the third-generation device, the iPhone 3GS, Apple also announced they would keep the second-generation iPhone 3G on the market for a discounted price — just $99. They followed this strategy in 2010 as well. This is what some might consider the iPhone “line”.
The setup right now is actually perfect. The Apple community started talking up the possibility of an iPhone “lite” last year, but if you really think about it, the iPhone 3GS is the low-end model. It is only $49 on AT&T and runs the same software as the iPhone 4, but lacks the high-resolution display and front-facing camera, among many other premium features. There is no need to expand the iPhone product line.
The iPod needs multiple different variations because not everyone uses the same amount of storage. On top of that, certain customers want their music with them and nothing else. Others want more of a portable computer, so they opt for the iPod touch. The iPhone is a smart phone. People do not ask for a specific device to cater to their personal needs. They ask for an intelligent telephone, and that is what they get. Sure there are different storage options, but none of the features change.
I really just do not see more than one iPhone happening. It would not even benefit consumers. If Apple were to release a low-end iPhone in September for a cheaper price, it would not be any different than it is now. If they were to release a more expensive, top tier smart phone, it would most likely drive up the prices of competing handsets. The company set the industry standard $199 price tag with the introduction of the iPhone 3G back in 2008. It has not changed much since then, with the exception of a few new 4G LTE devices at $249. If Apple created a norm once, they can do it again.
Just to reiterate, all of this is based on something one analyst predicts. There is no inside information or tips, ergo, it does not have much significance. The only part worth remembering is that September release. The press has been talking about it for some time, and we now can now label the rumor for a September launch as credible. Also, they tend to throw around the iPhone 4S name, but I would not really look into it. Hopefully Apple ditched the odd name extensions for good with the iPhone 4.
So what do I recommend Apple does? I think the iPhone line should be kept the way it is now: one central device and an older, but still valuable device at a discount. Never try to fix something that is not broken. Besides, imagine the competition between peers about who has the better iPhone and who bought the less important one. Just what we need, more people arguing over Apple. Although a large company probably enjoys that, it would still be an unnecessary business decision.