Rumors have been circulating that Apple is planning on releasing an iPhone Mini.
The rumor stems from speculation that Apple wants to introduce an iPhone product with a lower price point.
Thereby, allowing Apple to compete more effectively with the likes of Samsung, LG and Nokia, which are flooding the pre-paid phone market with several low priced smart phones.
Analyst suggest that Apple will be forced to enter this market to compete effectively.
I, for one, think that all the speculation around the ‘iPhone Mini’ is a bunch of malarky.
And here are five reasons why.
Reason No. 1: The iPhone is not for the poor.
All smart phones are luxuries. Period. They are made for people who want the convenience of being able to make a phone call, draft, read and reply to emails, surf the internet, complete mobile transactions, get directions, etc., on the go. They allow folks to perform tasks that they could other wise perform through other means, directly from their device.
This convenience comes with a price tag. One that is usually high. Whether it’s the price of the device itself, or the subsidized price and the attendant contract, they’re not for those light in the pocket (or with low credit scores).
Reason No. 2: A pre-paid iPhone diminishes the brand.
Although the iPhone isn’t as exclusive as it once was, an iPhone designed for the pay-as-you go consumer, takes away from the exclusivity of the brand. If you either can’t afford an iPhone, can’t clear the credit check to get a contract or simply don’t want to be locked into a contractual commitment, keep it moving! I hear there are a bunch of Android devices at Metro PCS. And you’re not going to find an iPhone among those choices.
Reason No. 3: An iPhone that works on more wireless networks makes more sense.
One of the things that has impacted the growth of the iPhone is the fact that Apple kept the device exclusive to a select number of carriers for so long. AT&T used to be the only show in town. Then a few years ago, they opened it up to Verizon. And now T-Mobile and Sprint offer them. A more strategic move for Apple is opening the iPhone up to additional wireless providers, whose users aren’t ready to jump to other providers just to get their iPhones on.
Reason No. 4: The iPhone 4s is already a cheaper model.
As we’ve seen several times in the past, whenever Apple prepares to release a new model, the price of the older models drop dramatically in price. Today, you can cop a 4s for $99. Folks who aren’t prepared to shell out $199 for a new phone, can still get in on the iPhone movement with the 4s, the next best thing. Offering another device at the $99 price point (the alleged price of a stripped down iPhone) would cannibalize their own market.
Reason No. 5: No one at Apple seems to know what’s going on with the alleged iPhone Mini.
Earlier this week, there were reports from reputable sources that the iPhone Mini was being planned. Several claimed the source of such a suggestion came from Apple. However, this week Reuters ran an article which claimed that Apple’s marketing chief, Phil Schiller, dismissed such rumors. Needless to say, there is clearly no ‘meeting of the minds’ inside of Apple. So I’m going to read that confusion as a negatory.
Although not a formal part of my list, the most important reason that Apple shouldn’t make a mini is simply that Apple is a market leader because it is a market LEADER.
Not a market follower.
Sometimes the burden of being a market leader is not debasing yourself by following others.
Sure, these guys are making money hand over fist with these low-priced entrants.
But your pockets stay lined.
Once you start playing their game, will you be able to force retailers, like Best Buy, to give you shelf space?
Can you continue to extract a king’s ransom for the right to carry your phone?
Will Apple still be seen as a premium brand?
No. No. And no.
Stay the course Apple.
No. iPhone. Mini.