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Is There Any Reason Why Should Apple Discontinue the iPhone 5?

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Apple will allegedly discontinue production of the iPhone 5 and emphasize the iPhone 5S and the lower-cost iPhone when they will be unveiled this fall, the Korean site ETNews reports (via MacRumors).

iphone5-apple-store

The voices that whispered to the Korean site claim the move could come because the new in-cell technology used by the iPhone 5 is not suitable for low-volume production. What is interesting though is that Apple’s next generation iPhone will likely feature the same technology and the same design as the iPhone 5, at least from what we have learned from previous leaks. So from this perspective the reasoning doesn’t quite sound plausible, despite some inner design changes the highly anticipated handset will reportedly feature according to the PCB leak.

In case the lower-cost iPhone launches this fall, Apple could however discontinue the iPhone 4 and 4S, for two reasons: first, they still feature the 30-pin dock connectors, and secondly, they don’t represent the cheaper way to do the iOS ecosystem and the Apple experience, since the plastic iPhone will be there to replace them with a 4-inch display.

In addition, a recently published CIRP study has pointed to a 4% increase in sales of the iPhone 4, while sales of the iPhone 4S dropped to 30% of all iPhone sales. By contrast the iPhone 5 still represents more than 52% of all smartphones Apple has sold.

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  • Ron Miller

    To me there is a very obvious reason to stop selling old iPhone models. Customers don’t like it when their devices become obsolete, and it is reasonable to expect a newly purchased phone to be able to use the “current” version of iOS for at least two years. Right now, customers can still buy a brand new iPhone 4 which was introduced 3 years ago. For Apple to support this phone 2 years into the future, that means that two years from now, Apple will still need to support phones designed 5 years ago, and with 5-year old specs. By creating a brand new low-cost phone each year, they can make sure that the new low cost phone is better future-proofed. Getting rid of the iPhone 4s this year will allow Apple to move all their phones to lightning connectors and 4-inch screens. As iOS 8 is being developed (which it most certainly is right now), they can make sure that the low-cost phone is designed with iOS8 (and iOS9) in mind. For example, maybe Apple thinks that iOS9 might be a better OS if it was designed for devices with 2GB of RAM. If the new iPhones being sold starting this autumn all had 2GB of RAM, it would allow iOS9 to require 2GB of RAM while still supporting phones bought 2-years previously.

  • K3

    Is There Any Reason Why Should Apple Discontinue the iPhone 5?

    Made in America.

  • Shameer Mulji

    With the assumption that Apple will be releasing the “plastic iPhone” & iPhone 5S, the biggest reason to drop the iPhone 5 would be to minimize consumer confusion.

  • It’s un-Apple like. The iPhone 4 is still around, it would be crazy to discontinue the iPhone 5.

  • Eket

    It’s not un-Apple like. If you look at their other product lines, they don’t keep old models around. The reason the do it with iPhones is because it is more important in that market to have a cheap option available – many people upgrade their phones more frequently than their computers, so are more price sensitive, and have a higher market share with their iPhones (and other iOS devices) matters a lot more than it does with their computers.

    If they start making a new cheap version of the iPhone, there will no longer be a reason to keep old models of the iPhone in production. This will actually be *more* Apple-like, since it will match the way they have been doing most of their product lines for years.

  • crosseyed_mofo

    have to agree here

  • Tim

    If the 5S is only an incremental upgrade, then why not get rid of it? I can see how Apple would have or has had trouble differentiating models that look physically identical and only have relatively minor spec variations.

  • K3

    I think maybe Gary might be saying is it’s unlike Apple to discontinue the last model (5) but keep the anything previous that going still. (4/4S).

    It would be un-Apple like but if any of this rumor is true it’s most likely in preparing for future hardware lines to be built in the USA.

    ????????

  • All I’m saying is they will not end the 5, as that’d be crazy.

    The iPhone 5S and iPhone 5 will look identical, based on what Apple has done with the 3G/3GS and 4/4S. There’s no way they would just end the 5, as they start to generate more profits on older models through economies of scale. I can see the iPhone 4 dying then introducing a ‘cheaper’ iPhone to go with the 5/5S. The iPhone 4S will stick around I bet as it’s still a capable phone.

  • gweed123

    Apple discontinued the iPad 3 when they launched the iPad 4, did they not? Yet the kept the iPad 2.

  • They did. But I can see them keeping the 5, as more iPhones are sold than iPads.

  • gweed123

    I think it has to do with profit margins, personally. They won’t be able to make enough money selling the iPhone 5 (which is expensive to make), at $100 less than the iPhone 5S, which will be virtually identical.

    By switching over to what will in essence be an iPhone 5 inside of a plastic casing (referring of course to the new plastic iPhone), they will be able to keep the same profit margin per unit, if not increase it.

    I suspect they’re having the same issues, albeit on a slightly smaller scale, with the iPhone 4S and iPhone 4. Still costs pretty much the same to make as when they were the premium phone, but the sale price has dropped on them, and therefore so has the profit margin.

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