In a new note, Jefferies analyst Peter Misek writes that "there is a good chance" Apple introduces a "low-cost iPhone" in June of 2013 when it reveals the iPhone 5S. This phone was be targeted at pre-paid and emerging markets, especially in Asia, says Misek.
He continues, saying, "Our checks indicate a low-cost model would be a retooled iPhone 4 with a scaled-down modem, apps processor, etc. Foxconn International Holdings (FIH) already has a supply chain for capacity scaling up to 200-300K units per day."
There are a few caveats with this report.
First, analysts have been predicting a pre-paid iPhone for years and it hasn't come. We'll believe it when we see it.
Second, and this might explain the previous point, Misek says a cheaper iPhone wouldn't increase Apple's sales or EPS. Here's his exact explanation:
We see little financial impact to Apple from a low-cost iPhone launch mainly due to an expected high cannibalization rate. We think the most likely scenario would lead to Apple increasing its unit market share but that its revenues and EPS would remain largely unchanged. But GM would be impinged in order to reach the desired $200-$250 price point. We estimate that the low-cost iPhone’s GM would be near corporate average but that it would be below the regular iPhone.
While a lot of pundits think Apple needs to grab market share, Apple might ask what good is market share if it doesn't increase sales or EPS. And if that's the case, it might just skip pre-paid iPhones.