Apple exec hints at cheaper prepaid iPhone

Apple's interim top dog Tim Cook has dropped the biggest hint yet that the Mac maker might be developing a cheaper iPhone.

Bernstein Research analyst Toni Sacconaghi recently had a meeting with COO Cook, CFO peter Oppenheimer and VP of Internet Services Eddy Cue and, according to Forbes, Cook made some pretty illuminating statements about Apple's future in the smart-phone sector.

Apparently captain Cook “appeared to reaffirm the notion that Apple is likely to develop lower priced offerings” in order to get the iPhone into more hands and was working on "clever things" in the pre-paid market, particularly in China.

Cook is also reported to have said that Apple did not want its products to be "just for the rich" and that the company was not "ceding to any market".

Rumours of a smaller iPhone variant have been doing the rounds for months now but we reckon if Apple is looking to punt a cut-price iPhone, it's more likely to stick with the current size and shape, and cut the price by using a less expensive display and far less RAM, which are the two most expensive components in today's 'smart' phones.

Having said that, Apple will be making a massive cultural U-turn if it starts building gadgets down to a price and, even on the strength of the Forbes report, we just can't see Apple diluting its already staggering sales by pandering to the lowest common denominator.

Apple could learn a lesson from premium clothing company Burberry which was was practically destroyed when it gained a reputation for council-estate ubiquity when every Chav in the UK started wearing its overpriced beige clobber - or more accurately cheap Chinese knock-offs.

Making cheap Chinese knock-offs of its own successful products just doesn't seem like a very Apple thing to do.