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Apple to make cheap iPhone by 2014, analyst says

One analyst reckons Apple will produce a cheaper version of its iPhone soon. Can you see it happening?

Will Apple soon start making a cheap iPhone? That's what one analyst reckons, and the reasons do seem to add up.

Piper Jaffray's Gene Munster -- not of those ones, sadly -- thinks that at some point in the next two years, Apple will make a special version of the iPhone that'll cost just $200 (£125), Business Insider reports. He says the budget blower will be aimed at emerging markets such as India and China.

According to Munster, the traditional business model for mobiles (where the handset is subsidised by the networks) doesn't work in those countries. And that's where the next 3 billion smart phone customers are, so obviously Apple will want their business.

A couple of networks in China have already announced that they'll be offering the iPhone 5 imminently. Though the country's biggest network, China Mobile, which has almost 700 million subscribers, won't be taking the handset.

Indeed, Android mobiles dominate in China at the moment, and not just because they're cheaper. Fifty nine per cent of high-end handsets sold in that country in the last three months were Android. There were 3.5 million Android mobiles sold there in the same period, compared to 2.3 million iPhones.

But would Apple produce a special, low-cost iPhone? At the moment, whenever it introduces a new phone (or iPad, for that matter), it still offers the old one, but at a slightly more wallet-friendly price tag. Making a whole other device would seem an uncharacteristic waste of resources, but then it did introduce a smaller tablet, which it previously said it would never do.

It would also help to head off competition from Google and its cheap as chips Nexus 4. Or whatever the equivalent is in 2014.

What do you think? Would you buy a cheaper iPhone? Let me know in the comments, or on Facebook.