Apple's New Boss Hints at Cheaper iPhone

Apple COO Tim Cook, CFO Peter Oppenheimer, and VP of Online Services Eddy Cue recently held court with a number of analysts to discuss, in vague terms no doubt, Apple's product roadmap and strategy moving forward. In the wake of that meeting, analyst Toni Sacconaghi of Bernstein Research issued a research note to investors recounting some of the key points discussed with some of Apple's top executives.

Most interesting was Cook's intimation that Apple is cognizant of the fact that iPhone pricing is cost prohibitive for many and that the company has no intention of having the iPhone be a product "just for the rich." While you can find great deals on iPhones nowadays -- just $49 for the 3GS on AT&T for example -- expensive data plans inevitably leave a lot of consumers on the sidelines. And much how Apple slowly but surely enveloped the MP3 player market with a range of devices at varying pricepoints, don't be surprised if Apple does the same with the iPhone. Apple is "likely to develop lower priced offerings" in the future, Sacconaghi writes.

Indeed, rumors over the past few weeks have suggested that Apple is in fact toying with the idea of releasing a cheaper iPhone model (read: sans 2-year locked in contract) to compete more aggressively with the plethora of cheap Android handsets that are currently on the market. Driving the point home, Cook noted that Apple is "not ceding any market" and that the company has "clever things" planned to compete in the prepaid handset market as well.

Another interesting point which speaks to iPhone marketshare is the number of relationships Apple has with carriers. Tim Cook said that Apple is extremely interested in fostering more carrier relationships while pointing out that RIM handsets are now available on 550 carriers worldwide as opposed to the 175 Apple currently has deals with.

With respect to the tablet market, Cook expects fierce competition from both PC and smartphonemanufactures but remains confident that Apple, thanks to its head start with the iPad and "interesting new things in the pipeline", will be able to hold its own. Remember, Apple's head start with the iPad garnered the company an impressive 95% share in the tablet market, but now that tablets from the likes of Samsungand Motorola are starting to hit the scene, the iPad's staying power as a market leader will soon be tested.

Lastly, one other interesting blurb was Cook calling the iPhone the "mother of all halos" on account of its ability to attract customers to the Mac and the iPad.

via Forbes

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