Taipei/Hong Kong - Asian suppliers to Apple have begun
manufacturing a lower-priced version of its hot-selling iPhone 4 with a smaller
8 gigabyte flash drive, according to two people with knowledge of the matter.
The flash drive for the 8GB iPhone 4 is being manufactured
by a Korean company, one of the people said Tuesday, declining to name the
company. Apple currently sources its flash drives from Japan's Toshiba and
South Korea's Samsung Electronics.
The sources declined to be identified because the information
has not been made public.
Apple, which demands high levels of secrecy and security
from suppliers and employees, declined to comment. Samsung also declined to
The existing iPhone 4 was first launched in June 2010 with
16 GB and 32 GB versions, with a white version added to the lineup in April.
The 8GB version is expected to launch within weeks, the sources said.
Some analysts said the cheaper 8GB iPhone 4 could help Apple
boost sales in emerging markets.
"Apple may want to push into the emerging market
segment where customers want to switch to low- to mid-end smartphones from
high-end feature phones, which usually cost $150 to $200," said Yuanta
Securities analyst Bonnie Chang.
"But I think for an 8GB iPhone 4 the price is hard to
go below $200, so Apple will still need a completely new phone with low
specifications for the emerging markets."
iPhone 5 by end-Sept?
In addition to the launch of the smaller iPhone 4, Apple is
targeting an end-September launch for the next-generation iPhone 5, a source
said, confirming earlier reports on Apple follower blogsites and industry
The new iPhone, which some call the iPhone 4S because of its
largely identical appearance to the existing iPhone 4, will have a bigger touch
screen, better antenna and an 8-megapixel camera, one of the people said.
The iPhone 5's two manufacturers have been told to prepare
production capacity for up to 45 million units altogether, the source said. The
phone will be made by Hon Hai and Pegatron, the person added.
Apple sold 20.34 million iPhones in the second quarter
versus an expected 17 million to 18 million, and is increasingly looking to
Asia to boost future earnings.
The company's chief operating officer Tim Cook said in July
the company is particularly optimistic about Greater China.
"I firmly believe that we are just scratching the
surface right now," Cook said about China. "I think there is an
incredible opportunity for China there."
Asia-Pacific - which accounts for about one-fifth of its
total revenue - and Greater China in particular helped Apple's revenue surge
82% to $28.6bn in April-June.
Overall, Asia-Pacific revenue more than tripled to $6.3bn in