First, if the low end iPhone sold, without a contract, for around
$200-300, it would be in the same price range as the iPod Touch,
and would draw the same buyers. However, it could potentially draw
in many more buyers with the fact it could also be used as a phone
by simply putting in a sim card. It would be a dream device for
many that want to simply use ‘pay as you go’ plans and don’t
want to be locked into a 2 year contract. Apple probably also has
the clout to make a data plan option, a la the 3G iPad, so that
you could simply buy a months worth of data on your iPhone,
without even having a voice plan. It could basically be the 3G
iPod, with the added benefit of you being able to make it a full
fledged iPhone if you desire.
I concur with this logic. It makes sense in a lot of ways for Apple. Simpler product lineup. It would even help with “smartphone market share” numbers — iPod Touches are dark matter in such comparisons that only count “phones”. Plus, I don’t recall seeing (or hearing privately, myself) any rumors about a new iPod Touch for this fall. The only downside I can think of is that iPod Touches are a lot thinner than any iPhone released to date.
I don’t know that any U.S. carriers would be willing to offer a data-only plan, though. I know it would be popular, but the mobile carriers aren’t stupid. Down that path lies the end of their business model of selling phone time.
★ Wednesday, 31 August 2011