Rumour Round Up: Samsung S4 gets grunty and just how likely is a low cost iPhone?

Alex Walls
January 22, 2013

The What Mobile Rumour Round Up, featuring the S4’s possible processing power and the two new phones Apple could be releasing.

The successor to the Samsung Galaxy S3, the S4 (these names, so difficult to come up with) is rumoured to feature the newly announced Samsung Exynos 5 Octa processor.

The buzz on the tech street is that the processor could feature in the new phone, with SamMobile reporting the S4 was seen in Antutu Benchmarks, sporting an Exynos 5 Octa and running Jelly Bean 4.2.1  However it’s advised that since the benchmarks can’t confirm anything, the information should be taken with a grain of salt, International Business Times reported.

Should the S4 feature the Exynos 5 Octa, the processor would draw from eight cores in total – four ‘big’ Cortex-A15s and four ‘LITTLE’ Cortex-A7s, Samsung said, for handling low and high intensity tasks in an energy efficient manner.

And Know Your Mobile is reporting the S4 will be released in April.

Meanwhile DigiTimes (among many many others) is reporting that Apple could be releasing not one, but two iPhones this year, likely to be 4 inches.  One version could be the lower-cost iPhone that’s been doing the rumour rounds and the other, the successor to the iPhone 5 – whether the 5s or iPhone 6, the Gadget Show reported.


If a cheaper iPhone launches, the high end market has reached saturation.

Ovum principal analyst Tony Cripps said the only reason Apple would release a low cost device, with a lower profit margin, would be the point at which the company believed it had effectively saturated its high end opportunity.    He said one of the key observations when following Apple over the last few years was that the company had done “spectacularly well” at maintaining very high profit margins on devices it brought to the market.  A lot of the buzz around Apple over the past few years had been its ability to generate almost unheard of profits and revenues within the tech market and it had thus created a great expectation from the investment market as to what they could expect the company to do next and its longer term outlook. Manufacturers had to look at whether to offset high end profit against potentially higher volumes, to make up for the loss they might experience at the top end.

“It tends to be the case that sort of the lower down the market you go, the less the profit margin that is potential is there available.”

Introducing such devices would be the point at which Apple had begun to flat line in terms of growth in existing products when it could not extract much more in the way of additional revenue and profits, Mr Cripps said, and it became more important to raise its revenue over all by focussing on segments.


Indications of market saturation

Mr Cripps said although nothing was definite at the moment, there did appear to be a possible peaking in where Apple’s shipments are and it could that the company had potentially reached its limits on what it could expect from the kind of product line they had.

“In which case they will presumably be investigating alternatives  and additional products to continue on the kind of growth trajectory that they’ve been on over the last several years.”

What one could probably say was that as and when such a product or products were announced, that would the point at which Apple itself had seen the maxing out its existing product lines, he said.  There would come a point at which the amount of shipments the company could make given its product set, would plateau.  It might then invest in the lower cost handset option because the expectation from the investment market was of a market in extreme growth, Mr Cripps said.

As with the iPad Mini, if Apple were to introduce a lower cost, lower spec iPhone, the company would probably also be looking to keep the profit margins as high as possible, Mr Cripps said.

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