Rumors about new iPhone are all over the market. The new iPhone, much believed to launch on coming fall with not much hardware modifications, has got a mock up name “iPhone 4S”. However, recent analysis shows that Apple might release not one, but 2 iPhone models to spread the portfolio and to capture another market segment.
Deutsche Bank’s Chris Whitmore issued a note earlier this week, suggested that Apple may launch two iPhone models in September, including an unlocked model iPhone 4S with budgeted pricing, and iPhone 5 with iOS 5 preinstalled.
In most markets, iPhones are either distributed by carrier subsidy with contract, or retail channels such as authorized resellers and the Apple Store. The latter channel requires customers to pay the full cost upfront.
Selling unlocked iPhones in retail channel may attract pre-paid customers, but for some markets that users prefer pre-paid subs and mid range smartphones, an unlocked “iPhone 4S” priced around US$349 would be a viable option.
According to the note, over two-third of Worldwide cellphone users are now using pre-paid mobile services, especially in regions like Africa, Asia Pacific and Latin America. While the addressable (post-paid) market has already grown to include 1.5 billion potential customers in 98 countries, the unaddressed market is with huge potential.
As the note didn’t cite any sources, we are not sure how many next-generation iPhones are going to launch. But with Apple’s continued success in the cellphone market, as well as huge resources in R&D, maybe it’s time for Apple to explore another market segment.