Apple announced some attention-hogging iOS stats earlier this week, and now is seemingly briefing journalists about its iPhone plans – both utterly co-incidentally in the week of the CES trade show where many of its rivals are exhibiting. Props, as ever, for its ability to run interference on the competition. The iPhone plans are interesting though: the Wall Street Journal reports that Apple is working on its long-rumoured ‘lower-end iPhone’ which could launch later this year as a more-affordable gateway smartphone for iOS. “One possibility under consideration is lowering the cost of the device by using a different shell made of polycarbonate plastic,” notes the article. “Many other parts could remain the same or be recycled from older iPhone models.” Any such launch would be a departure from Apple’s historic strategy of focusing on premium iPhones when launched, while dropping the prices of older models. Still, the real opportunity for a truly ‘cheaper’ iPhone is emerging markets, which could have exciting implications for iTunes and the much-speculated-about iRadio service.

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