This year’s refresh of the iPhone line may address the growing popularity of cheaper Android phones. Based on leaks from suppliers, it appears Apple is poised to release a less elaborate and less expensive version of the iPhone in an attempt to appeal to consumers too frugal or too poor to pay for the high-end model that sells for more than $600 without a wireless contract.
If reports published in technology blogs and newspapers pan out, the stripped-down iPhone will be called the “5C” and be housed in plastic casing that will be offered in a variety of colors instead of an aluminum casing.
Apple declined to comment, but an invitation for today’s event fed the multi-hued speculation swirling around the less expensive iPhone. The invitation was filled with colored bubbles and predicted, “This should brighten everyone’s day.”
If it introduces a cheaper iPhone, Apple might end production of the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S that were released in 2010 and 2011, respectively. Those models have been sold at a discount to the iPhone 5, a factor that has lowered the average price Apple has fetched for its phones.
A new version of the high-end iPhone also is expected to be revealed today. The top-of-the-line model, expected to be dubbed the “5S,” will be the first to be sold with Apple’s revamped mobile software, iOS 7, already installed. The new system, which will automatically update apps installed on the device, can be downloaded on the iPhone 4 and later models, as well as on the tablets beginning with the iPad 2.
The redesigned software announced in June relies on simple graphical elements in neon and pastel colors. Gone is the effort to make the icons look like three-dimensional, embossed objects — a tactic known as “skeuomorphism,” that was favored by Jobs. This will be the second iPhone model that Apple has released since Jobs’ death in October 2011.