The iPhone 3GS

In preparation for tomorrow’s iPhone announcements I’d like to repeat something I said last October: the iPhone 3GS will be produced for many years to come, and its price will drop a little every year.

Update: Well, it seems I was wrong here. The 3GS has been nixed. Pity.

Apple definitely plans to keep the 3GS around this year. Evidence: iOS6 will run on it. Why would Apple have gone to that trouble if it plans to nix the 3GS tomorrow?

If Apple has a problem in the smartphone market, it is that it cannot easily access the low ends of the market. iPhones are just too expensive for a large swath of people, especially in developing countries, who might otherwise be interested in buying Apple products.

In order to break into this market segment Apple needs a low-cost phone. Still, it also wants to deliver top quality, which requires a full design process. The 3GS has already been through that process, and production costs get lower each year. Machinery has been depreciated, component costs will continue to fall.

So tomorrow the 3GS will go to, I don’t know, shall we call it $300? That’s still too expensive for a true low-end phone, with $75 Androids being offered. But Apple can afford to wait. Next year the price will drop again, and in 2014 again.

People of the world, buy a 3GS once the price becomes bearable to you. And rest assured there’ll be an upgrade every two years at the same price point.

Bloody brilliant. And so elegant.

In fact, it’s the sheer elegance of this solution that convinces me it’s true.

This is the blog of Peter-Paul Koch, mobile platform strategist, consultant, and trainer. You can also follow him on Twitter.
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