• Apple Looking at Cheaper iPhones, Prepaid Plans

    Even though the supposed iPhone "nano" appears to be just rumor, Apple is apparently still considering bringing cheaper phones to market. Saying they don't want their phones to be "just for the rich," Apple chief operating officer Tim Cook made it clear that Apple is looking to increase its market share by offering lower cost options. He made these comments on a call with an investment analyst, who also noted Cook's remark that Apple is "not ceding any market," and is looking into prepaid plans.

    Bernstein analyst Toni Sacconaghi talked to Cook, the man in charge while Steve Jobs is out on medical leave, as well as chief financial officer Peter Oppenheimer and Eddy Cue, the vice president of Internet Services. In a research note shared with his clients this morning, Sacconaghi reports on what he learned from this high-powered trio. Unsurprisingly, he found that the executives "projected a very confident tone," which is pretty much what you do when you're talking to someone your investors are listening to.

    Calling it "the mother of all halos," Cook said that the iPhone has increased Apple sales in every product line, especially in new, emerging markets where the company has not previously had a presence. According to Sacconaghi, the COO "appeared to reaffirm the notion that Apple is likely to develop lower priced offerings," though he did not mention any specific news about a cheaper phone. In particular, however, he did report that Apple is studying how to work with pay-as-you-go service, with Cook saying that he is doing "clever things" to enter the prepaid market. The iPhone, he asserted, should be "for everyone," not "just for the rich." He referred to Apple's stepped up efforts to boost sales in China - which, as he noted, is "a classic prepaid market" - as a sign of their interest in becoming more competitive on price.

    Chief financial officer Peter Oppenheimer, for his part, said that Apple is trying hard to increase the number of carriers it's working with. He noted that the iPhone is available on only 175 carriers today, as compared to Research In Motion, which has BlackBerry phones with 550 carriers worldwide. However, Oppenheimer said, Apple would not let carriers dictate terms, which Sacconaghi interprets as meaning that "Apple might be willing to act to disintermediate carriers with a soft-SIM."

    Cook is apparently convinced that the future belongs to tablets, saying that the tablet market will eventually be much bigger than the PC market. Sacconaghi estimates that if Cook is right, that could mean anywhere from $60 billion to $100 billion in income for Apple alone. Sacconaghi also claims that Cook feels the iPhone is "just below food and water on Maslow's hierarchy of needs", putting it ahead of other needs like safety and love. The analyst did not provide a direct quote for this rather outlandish claim, though.

    Source: AppleInsider
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Apple Looking at Cheaper iPhones, Prepaid Plans started by Paul Daniel Ash View original post
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