Apple may allow future networks offering the iPhone permission to discount the price of the device, as it revises its bring to market strategy in order to increase marketshare.
The latest reports claim the 3G iPhone will be discounted to $199 by AT&T when it ships the device, perhaps as soon as June.
These claims emanate from Fortune, which cites a “person familiar with the strategy” who says the network operator will offer a $200 subsidy on the handset to customers signing-up for new two year contracts.
This report comes weeks after T-Mobile in Germany and O2/Carphone Warehouse in the UK applied their own discount subsidy on sales of the 8GB iPhone, generating sufficient interest with their c.£100 discount to clear stock on hand within days.
The news also emerges as consistent strings of rumours begin to claim Apple will move away from its existing strategy of entering new territories with an exclusive deal with a nominated mobile network operator, instead putting the iPhone on sale through multiple operators iin each country.
Both are smart moves: price and concern at being locked into one particular carrier have both been widely seen as detrimental to Apple achieving wider iPhone sales in Europe, as has lack of support for 3G, set to be rectified in the next-generation iPhone.
The Fortune report also claimed the next-gen iPhone will be available in 8GB and 16GB configurations at the same prices as before, and will be 2.5mm thinner with a GPS chip.
The new iPhone is expected to be released on the one-year anniversary of the original iPhone debut June 27 or thereabouts. Apple is planning to stop supplies of the older model iPhone, according to the source