By Salvador Rodriguez
10:47 AM PST, January 10, 2013
Apple could launch a lower-priced version of its iPhone this year to attract more customers in countries where carriers don't subsidize devices, according to a new report.
The Wall Street Journal says the Cupertino tech giant is working on a new version of its smartphone that looks like a standard iPhone but uses cheaper materials to lower costs. The low-priced iPhone could have a shell made out of polycarbonate plastic rather than aluminum as the iPhone 5 has, the business journal says.
The report, which cites unnamed sources who were briefed on the plan, says Apple could launch the smartphone as soon as this year but also might kill the idea altogether.
Apple has been considering a cheaper iPhone since 2009, the report says, and may finally launch it this year due to market-share declines around the world as more people buy low-priced Android phones.
In the U.S., the starting price of the latest iPhone is $200 with a two-year contract thanks to subsidies by carriers, but that's not a typical practice in many other countries where customers would have to buy the device at a unsubsidized price. In the U.S., that's about $650 for a basic model without a contract.
Currently, Apple tries to attract those customers by selling older versions of the iPhone at lower prices, but that could change soon.
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