What do you suppose the possibility is of Apple releasing a "stripped-down" iPhone?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by Dash4814, Jan 30, 2007.

  1. Dash4814 macrumors newbie

    Jan 30, 2007
    ...in the somewhat near future? (year or two from now)

    They've seen that business model work for the iPod.

    What if they took away some of the "golly gee" features like the visual voicemail and the Google maps and released an iPhone Lite that would appeal to consumers who wanted an iPhone but didn't want to pay the high price?

    Even changes that warranted a $100-150 price drop would reel me in.

  2. hollerz macrumors 6502a


    Sep 13, 2006
    Durham, UK
    Guess it depends on the iPhones success, but like you said, worked for the iPod!
  3. risc macrumors 68030


    Jul 23, 2004
    Melbourne, Australia
    A stripped down iPhone? LOL - considering the 1 that is going to come out doesn't support VOIP, 3G, or 3rd party apps I'd say they already are releasing 1. ;)
  4. PlaceofDis macrumors Core

    Jan 6, 2004
    nope i doubt they will. the phone market has a different set of dynamics.
    what i would say is that a year or two down the road the current model will get a price cut when new models are introduced. thats my take on it. i don't see them removing features from it, only adding and thus the current one moves down the ladder.
  5. Dash4814 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 30, 2007
    Hmm, good call on that.

    That's probably when I'd be more willing to buy one. If they added to the iPhone and they dropped the current iteration's price by $100-150 it would be irresistable to me. And probably a lot of other consumers who are turned off by the price.
  6. jsw Moderator emeritus


    Mar 16, 2004
    Andover, MA
    I agree with the above: if Apple were to remove any features - enough to justify a price reduction - there'd be nothing all that compelling to cause people to buy it. I think they entered with the least they could and still get people to crave it. The more I look at it, the more I see that it's not exactly pushing the limits of technology - except for the touch interface, which is wicked.
  7. Dash4814 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 30, 2007
    I getcha.

    Think there's any merit in the notion that they may simply cram more features into a future model and drop the price of the "current" one?
  8. clevin macrumors G3


    Aug 6, 2006
    google map? visual voice mail? those are just apps. stripping them down will save u, say.... $1.00, at most.
  9. BenHoleton macrumors regular

    Dec 11, 2006
    I would expect the more likely scenario is tha the price will drop within a year. Of course, I'm still buying mine in June...
  10. ddrueckhammer macrumors 65816


    Aug 8, 2004
    America's Wang
    I don't know how much the price would drop but I think that a full touchscreen iPhone Nano with colors would sell if they could introduce it at $299 or under. Of course it would start to canabalize iPod sales as well.

    I'm guessing most people would be happy with something the size of an iPod Nano (made out metal for durability if possible) that just makes calls and plays music. Drop the email, google maps, calendar, widgets, etc. The problem is that most young people want texting too so a slider phone is out because where would you put the querty keyboard? In order to make an iPod Nano/phone have a full touch screen you have to increase the price. I wouldn't be surprised if we saw something like this in 2-3 years though as costs come down.

    In the meantime, I will continue to enjoy my iPod Nano and Nokia Flip until I can get a less expensive iPhone. I certainly am not going to pay the $800-$1000 that an unlocked iPhone will probably cost to buy off of eBay and I'm not switching from T-mobile irregardless of what phone Cingular/AT&T have.
  11. timswim78 macrumors 6502a


    Feb 8, 2006
    Baltimore, MD
    If the iPhone is a huge success and Apple establishes a foothold in the cellular market, then there is a strong possibility that they will introduce a lighter model.

    Perhaps it would be more of a "candy bar phone" with a narrower profile.
  12. Cougarcat macrumors 604

    Sep 19, 2003
    I totally disagree. I'd buy an iPhone Nano in a second if it was priced $199 or less, and had the iPhone's gorgeous interface minus the internet features. What's the compelling reason to cause people to buy it? The interface. My razr's software is crap. I can't stand it. I'd switch in a second for the iPhone's UI. I've got my larger iPod so I don't care how big it is. 1 GB would be fine.

    I would not use the internet stuff, nor would want to pay for Cingular's rediculously overpriced data plan. Just give me a good phone with a good UI (and visual voicemail.) Steve mentioned that more models would come eventually, so I'm optimistic.
  13. Dash4814 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 30, 2007
    Bingo. This is why I would gladly pay even $299 for something with that kind of interface. 1 GB of storage for music and some basic phone features and I'd be set.
  14. jsw Moderator emeritus


    Mar 16, 2004
    Andover, MA
    First off, the interface is worthless without a large enough touch screen. It depends entirely on having enough space to be usable because there are no keys. So you can't really do a smaller version without eliminating most of the interface.

    Second, if you remove internet connectivity, there go widgets, maps, etc. - key selling points. Apple won't do that.

    I strongly doubt Apple will ever release a phone with an OS/app suite which is inferior to this one's. The rest will be better. And I don't see a "nano" version coming out. For one thing, you can only make these so small, esp. because the screen sucks power, meaning a decent battery is required, and because the touch interface is worthless below a certain size.

    So I stay with my opinion that removal of enough features to justify a price reduction would make the phone non-compelling, because that would require removal of the touch screen and associated OS firmware. Apple design alone isn't enough to sell phones, when people can get them essentially for free.

    However, I agree that the prices will come down over time, just that a model which would be cheaper "today" wouldn't make much sense.
  15. whooleytoo macrumors 603


    Aug 2, 2002
    Cork, Ireland.
    The only thing I can think of is that they might reduce the size of the bezel, which could reduce the size of the device without altering the screen. Obviously - that's dependent on them being able to 'squeeze' the internal components into a smaller form factor.
  16. WRXHokie macrumors regular


    Sep 12, 2005
    New Jersey
  17. jsw Moderator emeritus


    Mar 16, 2004
    Andover, MA
    Yeah, that's a very good point. If the phone is essentially all screen, you could make a smaller one, but there'd still be limits unless you gave up texting except via predictive text, which sucks compared to a keyboard.

    Of course, I'd have said the same thing ("won't get smaller") about iPods five years ago, so I realize I could be completely insane thinking they won't get much smaller. :D
  18. Yvan256 macrumors 601


    Jul 5, 2004
    Subscriptions to carriers, iPods

    With the current situation with subscriptions to cellphone carriers in the USA and Canada, what I'd like to see is an iPod that's a stripped-down iPhone.

    No cellphone functions (except VoIP if it supports it), but everything else intact: widescreen, touchscreen, videos, music, photos, Wi-Fi, email, Google maps, Safari, calendar, address book, etc. I'm not upgrading my good old 3rd gen. 10GB iPod until I can buy such an iPod. If we can compose/reply emails and add calendar events with it too, then it becomes the "ultra-portable Mac" a lot of us want while still being an iPod. :cool:
  19. peharri macrumors 6502a

    Dec 22, 2003
    Do you think removing the Internet features would reduce the cost of the device by more than, say, $5 (the 802.11 features might add that to the cost of the hardware, depending on the way it was integrated.)?

    Almost all the expense to do with the device goes into providing the "gorgeous interface". The full size touch screen. The CPU/GPU. The flash RAM for storing the OS. (Yes, 1G is less than 4G price-wise, but you'd be surprised what the price difference is.)

    I think to get to the spec you're talking about, you're perhaps removing $50 from the component cost. You still want to recover the same R&D amounts, and you lose some of the benefits of mass production. I'm not seeing Apple producing such a thing.

    Given the device's ties to Cingular, I think a more likely scenario is an iPod X, a device without the mobile phone functionality. That may knock $50 off the price too, but funnily enough I wouldn't be surprised if people would happily buy an iPod X for $500 anyway.
  20. clevin macrumors G3


    Aug 6, 2006
    I think Wi-Fi device cost at least $20~30. after all, a SD Wi-Fi card right now costs $50~100.
  21. peharri macrumors 6502a

    Dec 22, 2003
    Even if this were true, it wouldn't really change the point much. We're probably looking at a grand total of $50 being subtracted from the cost of making the Apple phone if you get rid of all Internet related functionality and reduce the flash to the bare minimum.

    But that said, I'd be surprised if it's that high. USB and PCMCIA cards are more expensive, but the bulk of the expense lies in things like FCC approval and interfacing the technology with the PC. If it's integrated into the motherboard, we're then looking at a much lower price.

    The Nintendo DS has a full, low power, 802.11 implementation, and despite having an additional, faster, CPU, an additional LCD, larger LCDs, a touch screen, more RAM, and flash, it costs $30 more than the GBA micro. Some of that is marketing, but it strikes me that if the price difference was that great, Nintendo would want to drop the price of the GBA micro a little.

    And, of course, Nintendo has to pay patent royalties to Apple for its 802.11 implementation...
  22. emotion macrumors 68040


    Mar 29, 2004
    Manchester, UK

  23. macg4 macrumors 6502a


    Nov 17, 2003
    Des Moines,Iowa
    i doubt you will ever see a stripped down phone version anytime soon
  24. Astral Cars macrumors regular

    May 11, 2005
    St. Paul
    When I first thought of the stripped down phone I figured it would lose the iPod capabilities. It seems like that would save significant money, but to get it anywhere close to the $199 or even $299 mark that people are talking about it would have to drop pretty much everything other than making calls and texting. Which basically gives you a phone like any other basic phone out there. It still might be successful like that, but certainly wouldn't be a very exciting phone. I would say the possibility of a new iPhone model anytime soon is pretty low, but eventually we will see multiple iPhones, whether the additional model be higher or lower I don't know. This is why we all sit around waiting for Apple to do something.
  25. CommodityFetish macrumors regular


    May 31, 2006
    Syracuse, NY
    Bring on the click-wheel iPhone nano

    I know I'm probably in the minority, and call me old-school but I would love to have something very basic like an ipod nano with a clickwheel and phone functionality. I could easily live without the internet features, touch-screen, wide-screen, movies, photos, etc.

    I don't know price-wise how much this would make a difference but you could drop:

    wifi & bluetooth connectivity
    high-res widescreen
    touch-screen interface
    sensor to detect widescreen or vertical orientation
    sensor to detect if it's close to your face to turn off touch-screen
    ambient light sensor
    horsepower to run OSX light, and battery/power management to run it.

    While not having a keyboard would hurt text messaging ability - I don't use this much anyway.

    I know this takes away all that makes the iphone so compelling and high-end, but it would be a basic apple solution to the problem of not wanting to carry both a phone and an ipod around.

    Alternatively you could make it a serious full-sized ipod with an 80gb hard-drive, instead of a nano- flash drive size.

    Likelihood of apple doing this? probably close to nil, but I bet there would be a market. On the one hand with apple's current cool-factor, and with Skype VOIP solutions, some people just need a basic cell to be contacted when away from home...

    call me a minimalist - at least until the iPhone prices come down :cool:

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