Originally Posted by v5v
FWIW, I have no idea whether Apple will or will not stick to the Retina screen. I don't even particularly care one way or the other. My only point is that I don't believe the absence of a Retina screen automatically, by itself, makes a phone an idiot's choice.
In the case of both the screen and the chassis, we have no idea what other features of value Apple might include that make it more attractive than an iPhone 4. LTE? FaceTime over cellular? Siri? Who knows? Perhaps to some those things would matter more than a Retina screen or a chassis that is never even SEEN because it's inside a cheap plastic case!
This phone is for those who haven't experienced an iPhone before, not for current iPhone owners. Apple will provide the features that best suit new buyers primarily in emerging markets.
A plastic case is easier to mass produce and if this phone comes with a China Mobile deal easier production would be a huge asset for Apple, so that's why plastic seems likely (again not my preference but still a realistic option). Siri is a trademark feature that has enough stickiness to get new buyers hooked into the platform. LTE is likely because China Mobile seems to be moving in that direction.
Adding LTE and a 4 inch screen already brings the price higher as well as designing a new form factor and setting up the new manufacturing lines for it. So we're talking a new start up price far higher than the continued selling of the 4S (which has already recouped it's associated cost by being on sale for 2 full years already at higher price points).
This new device needs to be profitable from day one, and if it's adding more valuable features than 2 year old model it's replacing that means something is going to have to get cut.
That's why I've been postulating that the retina screen may have to be cut in order to price the device at essentially half of what the 5/5S will go for.
Yeah a non-Retina iPhone may not be our first choice in a new phone since it'd be a downgrade for us, but compared to $300 Androids, an iPad Mini-esque screen in the cheaper iPhone would be on par with expectations.