Apple to drop iPhone 3GS after iPhone 5 release, sources say

“iPhone 4 will become the UK’s entry level iPhone after Apple’s announcement on 12 September, while iPhone 5 will require new ‘nano’ sim cards. The new update will mean that the 8GB version of the iPhone 4 will be the entry-level iPhone, probably given away free on £20 per month contracts, as the 3GS is currently,” Matt Warman reports for The Telegraph.

“Sources close to retailers also suggested that an 8GB version of the 4S could be introduced,” Warman reports. “The 3GS was launched in June 2009 and sold a million units over its first weekend alone. At more than three years old, however, it is no longer able to keep track with the latest features.”

Warman reports, “Three versions of the Apple iPhone 5 will be on sale, offering different storage options… The sources close to retailers added that the device is expected to go on sale in the week of the 21 September, as previously suggested.”

Read more in the full article here.

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    1. Also, as long as it is sold “as new,” Apple will feel obligated to support it with iOS upgrades during the two-year contract period. Obviously, Samsung and others in the Android collective do not feel any such obligation to their customers. But for Apple, we already know iPhone 3GS is being supported with iOS 6, and I wouldn’t be surprised if iOS 7 also supports it.

      The iPhone 3GS doesn’t even have an A4. Continued support will hold back iOS advancement. The sooner Apple can say “A4 or later” as the iOS system requirement, the better it will be for the overall platform.

      Because of the Retina Display, Apple may not release the current iPhone 4 as the “free” option. Maybe Apple will reconfigure the iPhone 4 so that it uses a “non-Retina” display (same resolution as iPhone 3GS and earlier), and sell it as the “free” (with two-year contract) option. So, it will be

      iPhone 5 – $199 (and up) – “HD” Retina Display
      iPhone 4S – $99 – Retina Display
      iPhone 4 – “free” – Normal Display

      Apple already reconfigured the “original” iPhone 4 (last year) from 16GB to 8GB, to sell it as the $99 option.

      1. Your reasoning is that the retina display is too costly a component to make a free iPhone 4 worth it?

        My question is, would it really be cheaper to fire up manufacturing again on non-retina displays? If they are already making them for the 4S, I suspect that it makes more sense financially to have them both with retina displays.

        1. My reasoning is that if the “free” iPhone has a Retina Display, it is too close in functionality to an iPhone 4S (or even iPhone 5). The Retina Display is what really separated the iPhone 3GS from iPhone 4, for most customers.

          Why would they need to “fire up” manufacturing for the “non-retina display,” when they are still producing LCD’s of that size and resolution for use in the iPhone 3GS (and probably many other non-Apple phones)?

  1. Apple has lots of competition now. It’s going to be interesting to see how they respond to the flurry of new products from Amazon and Samsung. You can put on your zealot propeller beanies if ya want, but many of these products are compelling, some better than Apple’s products, some not quite as good as Apple’s products, but unfortunately, “Good Enough” and we’ve seen how well “Good Enough” worked with Windows over the years.

    Consequently having a very old product line and products that don’t have significant differentiation from one another around one help Apple to distinguish itself.

    I think @kingmel is right. Dump the 4 and the 3Gs. Sell the 4s as cheaply as possible.

    And as new products emerge, they’re going to have to have more than a speed bump, a few more megapixels in the camera, and an S on the front.

    1. One problem will always be $0 Android phones with 2-year-old technology running an OS up to a year old, but introduced a month ago and is therefore considered “new.”

      Meanwhile, Apple specifically has a phone that everyone knows was introduced 2 or 3 years ago, labelled the same… and even has lower storage than the original.

      Apple can’t really get around this consumer perception issue as long as they only release one new model a year. They’re still raking in the most profit of any maker so they might not care about market share now, but they also can’t let that get *too* low–that gives much greater leverage for carriers to demand concessions. For example RIM is apparently having trouble convincing some carriers to offer their upcoming Blackberry. The carriers won’t go that far with the iPhone of course, but they could for example demand a lower subsidy to Apple on them.

    2. I do agree that the competition is getting better. There are some products with some features that are better than those on the cognate Apple product. Overall, though, I have not seen one that is substantially better. It’s pretty much a feature driven/spec sheet battle at this point. Many consumers buying these devices don’t want to think about those.

      It will be interesting to see how long the “speed bump, a few more megapixels” evolution, as opposed to revolution, from all manufacturers continues. Unless a new device springs up, I think we are going to see that for quite a while.

      I will also note that at least Apple has also cast a wider net on the cameras, using better sensors. There is some limitation based on the thickness of the phone, but substantial improvements could be made for photography (lens, sensor, software).

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