When the iPhone 5 was released last year, its early record-breaking sales were so impressive that many pundits believed it would effortlessly become the strongest-performing Apple smartphone yet. But fast-forward a few months and the iPhone 5 outlook is not quite so rosey.
In the face of the unceasing hand-in-hand growth of Android and Samsung, Apple is under increasing pressure to defend its smartphone market share, and the most obvious way to do so is to release a more affordable, budget device in order to entice a wider range of potential iPhone buyers.
Anonymous sources have disclosed in numerous media reports published in the last week that Apple is planning to do exactly that; a claim which was loosely rejected by Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller, who maintained that the company would continue to "make the best products" and "never blindly pursue market share" - but stopped short of outright denying the cheaper iPhone possibility.
While the company does sell older iPhone models at a lower price (currently the iPhone 4 and 4S), that tactic doesn't seem to be effectively combating the inexorable rise of Android. And with reports overnight indicating that Apple's shares are now taking a beating over claims that demand for the iPhone 5 is sharply dropping, 2013 could very well be the year in which Apple is obliged to amend its market strategy for the iPhone brand.
What do you think... Would you like to see a cheaper iPhone released, or do you think the company should stick to premium models only? Let us know in the comments.