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iPhone 4s, iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS: Why did Apple Keep Three SKUs?

We were puzzled to see that Apple decided to stick to the 30-month-old iPhone 3GS for yet another year, which means that by June next year Apple may have a three year old phone in its portfolio.

We suspect that the main reason why the company chose this strategy, is to make sure that it has a handset that covers the increasingly competitive entry level where Android has been gaining significant marketshare,with the price of smartphones having dropped well below $100 or £100.

The iPhone 3GS has roughly the same configuration as the HTC Wildfire S but with a 50 per cent premium, and Apple said that it will be free on contract from all the major US network providers bar T-Mobile.

We believe though that the 3GS will be shortlived. Given that the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play, a vastly superior smartphone, can be had in the UK for around £150, it will be hard for Apple to justify keeping an obsolete model for very long.

This could either mean that Apple will revert back to a two-SKU model or will introduce an iPhone 5 when market conditions demand it. Which means that the new 8GB iPhone 4 could become Apple's new entry level smartphone before long.

Désiré Athow

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.