8GB iPhone 4s set to launch?

Just as we were preparing to wave goodbye to the iPhone 4 and greet the iPhone 5 with a big hug, Apple looks to have wrongfooted us, with a new iPhone 4 said to be on its way. Just as the company hinted at back in March.

At least, that is what Reuters claims. The news organisation says a cheaper iPhone 4 will be here 'within weeks', although it remains to be seen whether Apple offers the budget option to UK customers.

Initially, it is being aimed at emerging markets, with China being first in line for the smartphone. Reuters claims Chinese carriers China Mobile Ltd and China Telecom Corp Ltd are both in talks and are very keen to carry the handset. The finished product isn't going to be quite like the iPhone 4 you might have in your pocket right now though. There will be a smaller 8GB flash drive, a bigger touch-screen, a better antenna and an eight-megapixel camera, according to one source. However, it will look more or less the same and have that smaller price tag. Oh yes, it might have a different name too – the iPhone 4s.

'A lower-priced version of the iPhone 4 seems to be a necessary evil at this point in the iPhone adoption cycle, especially in emerging markets where the average income of individuals is much lower,' said Channing Smith, co-manager of the Capital Advisors Growth Fund, which owns Apple shares.

The lower end of the market has been avoided by Apple so far, which seems more keen on selling the iPhone as a premium product. But that area of the market can be a profitable one and an area where Nokia has traditionally dominated. If Apple wants to continue to eat up market share, it need to look wider than the most affluent phone users. After all, the more phones are out there, the more media and apps they eat up – which can only help Apple's profitability.

The launch is likely to coincide with the launch of the iPhone 5, which in turn is likely to be in the first half of September. Not long now, but long enough for a few more rumours ahead of the official announcements, that's for sure.

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