Production on Next iPhone to Begin This Quarter
That info comes from The Wall Street Journal and its un-named sources, who also reiterated that a lower cost iPhone model is also in the works and could launch in the second half of this year. It's a rumor we've heard before, and as the story goes, the entry-level iPhone model will utilize different materials, likely a polycarbonate plastic chassis.
It's unknown if Apple is actually considering a lower cost iPhone (Apple maintains it isn't), but one reason it might be is to compete with the plethora of affordable Android devices on the market. Head over to Wirefly, for example, and you'll find a whole bunch of Android smartphones selling for $0.99 or less, such as the Droid Razer M and LG Viper. Even Samsung's Galaxy S III can be had for as little as $50 these days, following the recent launch of the Galaxy S4.
A more affordable iPhone model could help Apple wrestle back some market share from Android, though it also risks cannibalizing premium iPhone sales. Another interesting wrinkle to the rumor is that Steve Jobs is said to have had a hand in developing the iPhone 5 and whatever model comes next prior to his death in 2011. It's hard to imagine Jobs putting his stamp of approval on a entry-level device.