Reuters added to the growing pile of rumors about upcoming Apple hardware with a report today on a cheaper version of the iPhone 4 that could launch “within weeks.”
The report said Asian suppliers have begun manufacturing a model with reduced memory – 8 gigabytes instead of the current entry-level 16 gigs.
It’s unclear how much the cheaper iPhone would cost and where it will be distributed, though it may be headed for emerging markets.
The report, citing “two people with knowledge of the matter,” said Apple will also launch an upgraded version of the iPhone 4 around the end of September. It’s been dubbed the iPhone 5, though it’s basically the same chassis as the iPhone 4 but with a larger display, better antenna and 8 megapixel camera, the report said. That would bring its specs closer to carriers’ flagship Android and Windows Phone 7 devices.
Other sources have been reporting that Apple’s testing an LTE version of the iPhone but it apparently won’t go on sale until sometime in 2012. That’s to be expected since the two largest wireless companies are now operating LTE networks and Apple’s a major phone manufacturer. What would be surprising is if Apple weren’t yet testing LTE technology.
It also seems likely that Apple will eventually offer touchscreen PCs that can take better advantage of touch apps developed for the iPhone and iPad.
My guess is that Apple will time the phone launches to take the wind out of Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7.5 “Mango” launch and the debut of the first Nokia Windows phones, which may surface by October.
Similarly, it could time the unveiling of new Macs to steal thunder from Windows 8 and the new generation of Windows PCs running Microsoft’s new operating system. The full unveiling of Windows 8 is expected at a developer conference beginning Sept. 13.
Both Windows 8 and “Mango” phones will be highlighted at the Microsoft conference, which is a major event for the company’s new mobile platforms. So you can expect the flow of disclosures about exciting new things from Apple and Android will increase in the coming weeks.