iPhone Rumor of the Day 1/9 - Bloomberg Jumps on $99-$149 Cheaper Model Rumors

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Ok, last week's iPhone rumors were that they'd introduce a smaller, low cost model. This week DigiTimes is reporting that they will instead launch a larger, low cost model.

Today, Bloomberg news has jumped on the bandwagon as well, noting that "the budget iPhone will launch "as soon as this year," according to sources familiar which Apple's plans who chose not to be named. The device will be part of a push to attract customers in developing nations, but will also be made available in the U.S. and other developed markets. Apple is said to be "weighing retail prices of $99 to $149 for a device that would debut in late 2013, at the earliest," Bloomberg reports, and the company has already "spoken to at least one of the top U.S. wireless carriers about its plans.""

How this would fit with the already price-cut (and selling) iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS that's still on the market -- we don't know.

Last week, Neil Mawston of Strategy Analytics is jumping on the bandwagon of predicting that Apple will release a smaller, cheaper iPhone, telling CNET that "We believe Apple will have to launch an 'iPhone Mini' at some point over the next three years to address the hundreds of millions of prepaid users worldwide that cannot afford the current iPhone. The iPhone 5 is growing fast and profitably right now, so there is limited incentive for Apple to launch a profit-squeezing 'iPhone Mini' this year. We expect the 'iPhone Mini' to be more likely next year, in 2014, when Apple's penetration of the global postpaid smartphone market will be nearing saturation and Apple will be forced to discover fresh growth streams elsewhere."

Earlier this week, Topeka Capital Markets analyst BrIan White entered the fray with a report today that "Our checks indicate that the next iPhone will have more choices for customers. This entails an expansion in both the color patterns and screen sizes with the next iPhone (i.e., likely called the iPhone 5S) that we currently believe will be launched in May/June with certain supply production starting in March/April."

At the same time, the analyst predicts that we'll see multiple screen sizes as well, a la an iPhone mini with a smaller screen size and a lower price point. While this would follow the pattern of the iPad mini, it doesn't seem to make much sense with other trends, or for Apple's goals of not driving developers nuts with too many sizes. Bring on the summer!

Apple most recently announced on December 17th that it has sold over two million of its new iPhone 5 in China, just three days after its launch on December 14. iPhone 5 was made available in more than 100 countries by the end of December, making it the fastest iPhone rollout ever.

"Customer response to iPhone 5 in China has been incredible, setting a new record with the best first weekend sales ever in China," said Tim Cook, Apple's CEO. "China is a very important market for us and customers there cannot wait to get their hands on Apple products."

iPhone 5 is the thinnest and lightest iPhone ever, completely redesigned to feature a stunning new 4-inch Retina display; an Apple-designed A6 chip for blazing fast performance; and ultrafast wireless technology*-all while delivering even better battery life.** iPhone 5 comes with iOS 6, the world's most advanced mobile operating system with over 200 new features including: Shared Photo Streams, all-new Maps app, Passbook organization and even more Siri features and languages including Mandarin.