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iphone 4 slant back

Apple’s global smartphone share may be slipping, but it appears that UK users still can’t get enough of Cupertino’s handset.

The iPhone’s marketshare jumped by 5.2 per cent on these shores in the last quarter alone according to researchers at Kantar Worldpanel Comtech. And the reason? iPhone 4 sales.

Yes, the three-year-old device, arguably the last phone with which Apple really helped push on the smartphone sector, is the one that’s ensuring iOS devices remain popular here in Blighty.

The explanation is pretty simple. You can pick up the iPhone 4 for next-to-nothing these days.

iphone 4 dual

It comes on contracts that cost as little as £13 a month, or you can snag it SIM-free for £319 unlocked. And herein lies the reason why Apple appears so keen to unleash a new budget smartphone.

Latest rumours suggest this plastic device will be called the iPhone 5C and pack in specs which push it beyond 2010’s iPhone 4.

That’s not too impressive, but if it comes in at a similar price, then you can bet consumers where will lap it up. There’s been talk in recent weeks that the advent of the iPhone 5C will see the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S killed off.

That makes a certain amount of sense: why sell older phones when you can sell new ones at a similar price and offer better specs with an updated, speedy version of iOS? Kantar says the 19 million people in the UK still use a feature phone rather than a smartphone.

That means the scope here for the iPhone 5C to succeed is massive.

iPhone 5C packaging

Sell it for the same price as the iPhone 4 and you can be sure it’ll corner the budget market in a matter of months.

That will set alarm bells ringing among the likes of HTC and Nokia, which have seen some success with their cheaper devices in recent months. It could also help Apple to recover some ground globally.

The top-end of the smartphone space is being dominated by Samsung and Apple appears powerless to stop it.

Kantar’s figures suggest there’s a chance that Cook and co could take on and beat its rivals with a handset that offers similar functionality to once top-end mobiles but at a low price.

iphone 5s dickson

When the iPhone 5C does appear, expect to see Apple be aggressive in marketing it as an affordable option.

This goes against its usual approach but with its recent struggles it has little choice.

Whatever happens, the handset will be a success here in the UK at least.

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