Apple Inc. (AAPL) is working on a lower-end iPhone, according to people briefed on the matter, a big shift in strategy as its supremacy in smartphones has slipped.
While Apple has explored such a device for years, the plan has been progressing and a less-expensive version of the flagship device could be launched as soon as later this year, one of the people said.
The cheaper phone could resemble the standard iPhone, with a different, less-expensive body, one of the people said. One possibility Apple has considered is lowering the cost of the device by using a different shell made of polycarbonate plastic. Many other parts could remain the same or be recycled from older iPhone models.
Apple, Cupertino, Calif., could decide not to move forward with the device. An Apple spokeswoman declined to comment.
The move toward multiple iPhone models is new territory for Apple. The company has prided itself on prioritizing profits over scale, offering a relatively small number of products targeted at the high end. While Apple has long offered different styles of iPod music players, the company has sold only one main new iPhone model, with different storage capacities, at a time since launching the smartphone in 2007.