Apple’s chief executive officer Tim Cook has acknowledged there is an obvious demand for keenly priced iPhones, amid a welter of rumours that the iGiant is working on a cheaper mobile.
Speaking at the Goldman Sachs tech and internet conference in San Francisco, the tech giant's charismatic leader revealed there is a “wide open field” in the market because iPhones are still “only available to 50 per cent of [mobile phone] subscribers in the world”.
When quizzed if this is simply because the other 50 per cent could not afford an iPhone, Cook replied: “Good question. Our North Star is ‘great products’ - we would never do something that isn't a great product, that's not why we're on this earth.”
He conceded, however, that there is a growing demand for older iPhones because they are now so inexpensive compared to when they first launched, making them hugely popular with more cost-conscious consumers.
“If you look at what we've done to appeal to people that are price sensitive — lower price of iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, in [the] most recent quarter, not enough supply of iPhone 4 - surprised us,” said Cook adding: “We are making moves to make things more affordable.”
While not openly admitting that Apple is secretly working on the long-rumoured iPhone mini, Cook hinted that Apple could theoretically make a cheaper iPhone but "not necessarily a cheaper version of the current iPhone”.
This approach makes sense, because while the iPhone 4 is still a great handset, with specs on a par with if not better than many mid-range Android phones, to many consumers it’s already outmoded by the simple fact that it’s two years old.
Retina vs OLED
Cook also took a swipe at its archrival Samsung, which has progressively launched devices featuring a range of screen sizes to cater – very successfully – to almost every segment of the market.
He said: “When you look at displays, some people are focused on size. There's a few other things about the display that are important.”
He then went onto to criticise the quality of Samsung’s OLED display, stating: “Some people use displays, the color saturation is awful. The Retina display is twice as bright as an OLED display. I only bring these points up to say there are many attributes to the display, and what Apple does is sweat every detail.”
Apple is hotly tipped by analysts to launch two new iPhones in summer, the standard-sized iPhone 5S and the more economical model, iPhone mini – or iPhone Air as some claim it will be called.
Cook’s comments also fly in the face of chatter that the iMaker is prepping a bigger handset for launch in autumn – the so-called iPhone Math – rocking a 4.8-inch screen.
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