/// Next-Gen iPhone Production Kicks Into Gear; Will There Be a Mid-Tier iPhone, Too?
Martin Hajek Apple is ramping up production of its next-generation iPhone ahead of an expected fall introduction that could include a second, lower-cost version of the device. That’s the latest from Jefferies analyst Peter Misek, whose channel checks suggest that Apple’s manufacturing partners will begin pumping out the iPhone 5s later this month. And sources familiar with the company’s plans say that this is indeed the case. Interestingly, Misek says that iPhone production ramp-up will follow one that’s already under way for Apple’s long-rumored lower-cost iPhone, a device he figures the company will price somewhere between $300 and $400 — without a subsidy. He estimates production plans at 25 million to 30 million units, split pretty much evenly across the 5s and its new lower-cost sibling. And he says the new entry probably won’t be competitive with the truly low-end handsets popular in emerging markets. Which is an interesting theory. There isn’t as much room as there used to be in the upper and lower reaches of the smartphone market these days. But there’s plenty of room for growth in the middle. And that’s a portion of the market that Apple has targeted with mid-tier products to great effect in the past. The iPod nano, the iPad mini — when those devices launched, they were dismissed as too expensive to attract the budget-conscious consumers.