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New Cheap iPhone Rumors Come Hot On The Heels Of Samsung's Galaxy S4

Samsung's new Galaxy S4 phone seems to have ignited a fire in some Apple analysts who see the phone, which is an evolution of the Galaxy S3, as perhaps the biggest challenger yet to the iPhone. But one analyst sees things differently, and it's worth paying attention to these predictions (even taken with the usual analyst pinch of salt) because previously Ming-Chi Kuo has been spot-on.

Kuo is throwing the spotlight back on the "cheap iPhone" rumors, which argue Apple will try to increase its market share—particularly in terms of pre-pay phones and the developing world—by launching a much cheaper device. Kuo says the phone is definitely on the way, and will sport the 4-inch screen currently used on the iPhone 5. The device is said to have a "super thin" plastic case which is actually mixed with fiberglass to improve its sturdiness—presumably a tactic aimed at less developed nations. This case lets the phone be lighter and perhaps thinner, and because it's easy to color plastic it's thought the cheap iPhone will come in multiple color options.

Why Apple would do this is evident from some analyst calculations earlier this week which suggest a cheap iPhone could let Apple access a new market worth $11 billion to the company inside its next fiscal year. This sort of product development is also a path that Apple has followed before with its iPod line, and this example alone suggests that a low-cost iPhone wouldn't devalue the serious brand cachet the iPhone currently carries.

We're used to Apple rumors coming and going like leaves in the wind, but the only time there has been such a persistent flurry of rumors like this recently was before the iPad mini arrived last year. Do you think Apple will really try this?

[Image: Flickr user j_aroche]