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How low is Apple(s AAPL) willing to go to increase its worldwide sales of iPhones? Anywhere between $99 to $149, according to a Wednesday report in Bloomberg.
Though it had died down after causing a stir in early 2011, the “Apple is making a cheaper iPhone” story line is back again. The Wall Street Journal got two sources on Tuesday to say Apple is seriously considering making a lower-cost version of its best-selling iPhone. Apple is reportedly weighing the use of cheaper plastics and older internal components to make a device that looks like an iPhone but is cheaper to produce.
Bloomberg adds a little more detail to this juicy rumor. Besides the price range, which is specifically intended to appeal to developing nations — where iPhones are often considered too expensive — the report claims that Apple has discussed this plan with a “top U.S. wireless carrier.”
Apple has been making progress in building its brand and selling its devices in some developing countries, like China. CEO Tim Cook is also eyeing an expansion in Brazil. China is already one of Apple’s fastest growing market for iOS devices, and the company is in the process of adding to the eight Apple Stores it has already built in the country.
But the company is facing a long, uphill battle: cheaper Android devices dominate in China. Combining a lower price with Apple’s established brand name could be a shortcut that helps Apple make faster gains in these regions.