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Apple Says iPhone Mini Could Be Entirely New Product

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Tim Cook says any less expensive smartphone might not just be a cut down iPhone 5

Apple CEO Tim Cook has hinted that the company could be ready to release a less expensive smartphone, but that it might not necessarily be a cheaper version of its current flagship.

Speaking at a Goldman Sachs conference on Tuesday, Cook said that any such device would perhaps be an entirely new product, citing the various entries in the iPod range as examples. He said that this would be preferable to an attempt to ‘cheapen’ its current flagship.

He reiterated his belief that some people were getting too preoccupied with specifications rather than user experience, referring to the obsession of PC manufacturers to deliver computers with the fastest processor and largest drive and the megapixel race held by digital camera manufacturers.

iPhone Mini speculation

iphone 5 mail featuredCook added that the company had been looking to build an iMac that would cost less than $1,000 in the last decade, but concluded that it simply couldn’t create a quality product at that price point. This was eventually achieved with the advent of the iPad, which has gone on to dominate the tablet market since it was launched in 2010.

Apple has seen its share of the smartphone market eroded by rival manufacturers and has long been rumoured to be working on a cheaper iPhone to combat this threat. It is still the second largest manufacturer of smartphones in the world but although demand for the iPhone 5 remains strong, it still sells a significant number of the less expensive iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S.

Samsung is currently number one in both the mobile phone and smartphone markets thanks to its broad market reach, prompting speculation that Apple might be prepared to emulate this strategy. This has intensified since it decided to release a smaller version of the iPad, the iPad Mini last year in order to compete with makers of cheaper seven-inch tablets like Amazon and Google

Prior to the launch of the iPhone 4 in mid-2010, Apple apparently developed a design for cheaper phones that looked similar to the iPhone at the time, but the idea was shelved as the Cupertino-based company was concerned that multiple smartphones would complicate the manufacturing process and would affect its high profit margins.

However the idea has resurfaced and in January, it was suggested that the design of any ‘iPhone Mini’ would resemble that of a standard iPhone but with cheaper casing. Its components could even be recycled from previous models.

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