A cheaper iPhone would give Apple access to a vast new market its current phones don't address -- one currently forecast to reach sales of 580 million units this year, according to Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster.
Rumors have been flying lately that Apple will introduce a low-cost iPhone to reach out to developing markets and offer more competition to Android. Assuming the rumors prove true, Munster -- one of the most bullish of Apple bulls -- believes such a phone would give Apple's market share a huge boost.
"We believe that the high-end smartphone market (above $400 USD off contract) for [calendar year 2013] will be about 320 million units, of which we believe Apple will capture 50 percent market share," Munster said in an investors note out today. "We believe this means Apple is missing the other 65 percent of the market, or 580 million units, given its current product lineup without the lower priced phone."
Munster predicts that Apple will unveil a low-cost iPhone this year to address that missing chunk of the market. And he currently estimates that Apple could sell 100 million low-cost iPhones in 2014 depending on the size of the overall smartphone market.