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Apple planning budget iPhone for 2013

Rumour has it that Apple is readying a low-cost version of the iPhone for emerging markets around the world.

Digitimes, which has a spotty track record with Apple rumours, has reported that the Cupertino-based firm is planning to roll out a more affordable iPhone in China and other emerging markets in the second half of 2013. The publication cited unnamed sources in Apple's supply chain, some of whom claim to have seen a sample of the iPhone in question. Those sources said the device will come with a larger display and sport a completely new exterior design.

Analysts have been saying that Apple is working on a cheaper iPhone for emerging markets for years. Their argument is that the US tech giant likely needs to broaden its appeal to continue growing its market share, proving that the latest rumour isn't totally out of the question.

It seems unlikely, however, that a cheaper version of the iPhone would come with a larger display, as Digitimes' sources claim. A larger screen would be more fitting for a higher-end version of the device since such a component would likely make the phone more expensive to produce.

The priciest part of the iPhone 5, for instance, is its 4in, in-cell touchscreen, which costs nearly £30 per device — over £4 more than the smaller touchscreen found on the iPhone 4S, according to a recent teardown analysis from IHS iSuppli. Most rumours of a cheaper iPhone intended for emerging markets centre around a device that is smaller than current models.

Digitimes stories should sometimes be taken with a grain of salt. Time magazine columnist Harry McCracken recently fact-checked 25 of the paper's tech stories and reported that "16 of these 25 stories turned out to be mostly or completely off-base. Five are largely or entirely correct. And four involve predictions that might yet come true."

Concept image credit: Graham Bower via Cult of Mac