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Cheap iPhone 4 demand 'surprised' Apple, Tim Cook says

The Apple boss expressed his surprise during a conference speech, but remained elusive on a cheaper iPhone for 2013.

Apple boss Tim Cook today admitted that the firm was caught off-guard by the popularity of its cut-price iPhone 4, but remained elusive about possible plans for a new, cheaper mobile.

Speaking at Goldman Sachs' Technology and Internet conference, Cook spoke of Apple's "surprise" at demand for the iPhone 4, which saw its price cut to £319 following the release of the iPhone 5, the Wall Street Journal reports.

"We lowered the price for iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S, and in the December quarter, we didn't have enough supply of iPhone 4, so it surprised us as to the level of demand we had for it," Apple's head honcho is quoted as saying.

Cook's comments follow continued speculation that Apple is plotting a cheaper version of the iPhone 5 to be released this year -- a device that recent rumours peg as ditching pricey materials in favour of wallet-friendly plastic.

During the talk Cook gave little away however, offering, "Our North Star is a great product. When everyone comes to work every day, they're thinking about that front and centre. We wouldn't do anything we wouldn't consider a great product.

"There are other companies that do that," Cook said -- possibly a sly dig at Samsung's galaxy of cheaper smart phones -- "and that's just not who we are."

Cook also reportedly commented that when Apple tried to make a cheaper Mac, it wound up making the iPad instead. So you never know, perhaps we'll see the company crafting something completely new for the budget-conscious crowd -- maybe that rumoured wristwatch?

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