'iPhone 5' launch will mark end of Apple's iPhone 3GS - rumor

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
The arrival of a new iPhone model will push existing models down to lower price points, while the iPhone 3GS will no longer be offered by Apple, according to a new report.

Citing anonymous sources "close to retailers," The Telegraph reported on Thursday that after more than three years on the market, Apple will finally retire the iPhone 3GS with next week's media event. Taking its place as Apple's free on-contract handset will be the iPhone 4, first released in 2010.

The new "iPhone 5" will reportedly be available in three capacities, while an 8-gigabyte iPhone 4S is also expected to be introduced, replacing the iPhone 4 at the $100 price point.

The details align with Apple's current pricing structure, in which the company sells a smaller 8-gigabyte version of last year's handset for $100. Beginning in 2011, Apple also kept around the iPhone 3GS as a free on-contract phone to court more entry-level buyers.

If Apple does decide to stop selling the iPhone 3GS, recent buyers of the handset won't be left behind. The forthcoming release of iOS 6 will be available on the iPhone 3GS, though some features, such as turn-by-turn navigation, require a newer version of the iPhone.

iPhone


Earlier this year, one analyst predicted that Apple will not outright kill the iPhone 3GS. Instead, Peter Misek with Jefferies suggested that Apple plans to continue selling the iPhone 3GS only in developing markets. There it was said Apple could expand sales by offering the 2009 smartphone for under $300 with no contract.

Another analyst, Gene Munster with Piper Jaffray, also expects that Apple will offer a $200 unsubsidized iPhone in 2013. Currently, the 8-gigabyte iPhone 3GS is available for purchase without a contract for $375.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 46
    irelandireland Posts: 17,386member


    Common sense trumps any rumour on this - it was obvious. Frankly, I'd prefer if they dropped the 4 too. And let the entry level iPhone be an 8 GB iPhone 4S. Would simplify the lineup.

  • Reply 2 of 46

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Ireland View Post


    Common sense trumps any rumour on this - it was obvious. Frankly, I'd prefer if they dropped the 4 too. And let the entry level iPhone be an 8 GB iPhone 4S. Would simplify the lineup.



     


    Agreed--and further, allow more upgrades to more users. Upgrading to the latest iOS isn't worth much if features are disabled based on your older hardware.

  • Reply 3 of 46
    gazoobeegazoobee Posts: 3,754member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Ireland View Post


    Common sense trumps any rumour on this - it was obvious. Frankly, I'd prefer if they dropped the 4 too. And let the entry level iPhone be an 8 GB iPhone 4S. Would simplify the lineup.



     


    I would love it if they dropped everything but the current model and concentrated on making a cheap off contract phone for $100.  It seems like a much better strategy to me than keeping three year old products on sale in such a rapidly changing industry.  


     


    The "long tail" on iPhone ownership is holding back new features for all and generally confusing consumers who can't really grok the differences between three almost identical devices with similar names.  With the additional confusion of only adding new features to US phones until the second year, what they have is such a hodge-podge that one needs a paper manual to figure out what's supported on what devices in what country.  

  • Reply 4 of 46


    Dropping the 3GS in "rich" countries makes sense. But it would also make sense to keep it around at a lower price in developing countries. 

  • Reply 5 of 46
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,029member


    I also think they should simplify the 5 lineup to only 16GB & 64GB models. They should sell the 64 for $100 more (same as current 32), they'll eat a bit of profit margin, but overall I think they will come out ahead in terms of inventory, logistics, manufacturing simplicity, not to mention producing vastly more quantities of the 64 will help with the economies of scale and slightly lower profit margins on that model. Its what I would do anyway. 


     


    Oh, and I would love a cheaper 8GB 4S, same price as current 3GS. Would eat that up in a heartbeat. Still an incredibly fast, capable phone and should get updates for another year or 2 at least. 

  • Reply 6 of 46
    irelandireland Posts: 17,386member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Blastdoor View Post


    Dropping the 3GS in "rich" countries makes sense. But it would also make sense to keep it around at a lower price in developing countries. 



    That's not how Apple operates, and it seems like they know 'how' to operate. It'd be more their style to have a newer one at the same price than an older one even cheaper - it'd be 4 generations old if they kept it around, which is not their style.

  • Reply 7 of 46
    mac_128mac_128 Posts: 3,137member
    My money is on keeping the 3GS 1 more year as the free phone, and perhaps sold globally as long as Apple will support it. Verizon gets an entry level 4S, but has to wait until 2013 for a free one, perhaps offering the remaining 4 for free to clear inventory and drawn in a lot of new customers. The iPhone 4 will be discontinued to simplify the lineup. This may not be Apple's style with respect to the relatively new iPhone line, but they did exactly this with the White MacBook, after the MacBook Pro line was announced, and I recall Steve jobs specifically saying that they would be around "for a long time".
  • Reply 8 of 46
    gustavgustav Posts: 819member


    The iPhone 4 can be had for free on contract in some places. Yeah, it just makes sense the 3GS going away. At this point, it can't be that much cheaper to produce it than the 4.

  • Reply 9 of 46

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post


     


    I would love it if they dropped everything but the current model and concentrated on making a cheap off contract phone for $100.  It seems like a much better strategy to me than keeping three year old products on sale in such a rapidly changing industry.  


     


    The "long tail" on iPhone ownership is holding back new features for all and generally confusing consumers who can't really grok the differences between three almost identical devices with similar names.  With the additional confusion of only adding new features to US phones until the second year, what they have is such a hodge-podge that one needs a paper manual to figure out what's supported on what devices in what country.  



    and what would a 'cheap off contract phone'  be compared to a 3GS?  I doubt it would be much different.  


     


    I agree with the long tail stuff, and I do think the 3GS should be retired, as it's non-retina, and non facetime.   The 4, without Siri makes for a 'transition' phone, but I don't think you'll see that phone be $100 off contract.  $200 maybe.


     


    I don't see the 'long tail' that you see... I see fragmentation of the OS functions.  New features are not being held back due to the 3GS, but due to Market Demand/maturity (NFC is a great example), and ability to implement in both a cost effective and design pleasing way


     


    As to what's supported on each country... welcome to carriers (and in some cases, countries) who have their own agendas.

  • Reply 10 of 46


    As much as I'd like Apple to depreciate the 3GS (with it's ancient display res, slow CPU, etc.), if R&D from over 3 years ago is still paying off in different areas of the world and as long as it doesn't impact current model production, I see no reason not to keep calm and carry on.

  • Reply 11 of 46


    Didn't they make it a point to say the 3GS would support iOS 6, though?

  • Reply 12 of 46


    If this is true, does the theory of the iPad Mini using 3GS touchscreen hold water any longer?

     

  • Reply 13 of 46

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by allenbf View Post


    Didn't they make it a point to say the 3GS would support iOS 6, though?





    Good point. I remember reading that. But was that a rumor or an Apple announcement at WWDC?

  • Reply 14 of 46

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by allenbf View Post


    Didn't they make it a point to say the 3GS would support iOS 6, though?



    Yes, but mostly because they don't want to tell people who bought it recently that it's "unsupported" as of next week. They'd need to provide security updates at the least. So in total, supporting iOS 6 made more sense.


     


    They won't sell it another year, unless it could run iOS 7.

  • Reply 15 of 46

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Harbinger View Post




    Good point. I remember reading that. But was that a rumor or an Apple announcement at WWDC?



     


    WWDC


     


    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Banana Bonanza View Post


    Yes, but mostly because they don't want to tell people who bought it recently that it's "unsupported" as of next week. They'd need to provide security updates at the least. So in total, supporting iOS 6 made more sense.


     


    They won't sell it another year, unless it could run iOS 7.



     


    That's a good point

  • Reply 16 of 46


    Apple is all about "delighting their customers" so yes, the 3GS will be dropped everywhere.  While I still have a 3GS that I use everyday, I would not like to see someone buy one new and then be displeased overall with their Apple experience in light of what else is on the market today.  That would only dilute Apple's brand value.  The phone has been on the market for 39 months.  Apple would rather have people need to save to buy a premier product than get a 3+ year old phone for next to nothing and come away thinking that Apple makes slow, feature deficient products.  I easily predict that the 4 will become the 'free' with contract option across the carriers, with the 4S being the $99 option and the 'new iPhone" starting at $199.

  • Reply 17 of 46


    I could possibly see a 3GS, 4S, and a 5 lineup, but 4, 4S and 5 seems more likely.


     


    Makes me wonder if this is a scoop or someone just making news off of something that makes sense.

  • Reply 18 of 46
    drblankdrblank Posts: 3,383member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Ireland View Post


    Common sense trumps any rumour on this - it was obvious. Frankly, I'd prefer if they dropped the 4 too. And let the entry level iPhone be an 8 GB iPhone 4S. Would simplify the lineup.



    Yeah, but they should have at one model phone for $0 w/two contract offering.  Some people just need or want all of the whiz bang options. They just want a basic smartphone.

  • Reply 19 of 46
    focherfocher Posts: 624member


    Whatever Apple does, it will be based on running the numbers and fitting into a strategy. I'm actually surprised someone would still pay an unsubsidized price of $375 for a 3GS. The margin at the price must be huge for Apple.

  • Reply 20 of 46
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    I'm surprised no one has complained that 8GB isn't enough for a phone. It's amazing that the 4GB iPhone was canceled just a few short months after it was sold because people wanted 8GB and 5+ years later 8GB is still more than sufficient for a large number of users.

    ireland wrote: »
    Common sense trumps any rumour on this - it was obvious. Frankly, I'd prefer if they dropped the 4 too. And let the entry level iPhone be an 8 GB iPhone 4S. Would simplify the lineup.

    It's looking more and more like they need that 163 PPI displays for the new tablet. The same display manufacturing plus the 2011 ASIC but on a 32nm lithography and you have a very power efficient device.
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