New iPhone may be coming as locked-down consumers seek bargains

Despite a pandemic-induced global economic crisis, Apple is widely believed to be set to release a reduced-priced handset that aims to fill a gap in its lineup, as early as this month.

Google could also follow a similar path, after Samsung last week unveiled new devices costs less than $500.

Reports suggest that the new Apple handset, to be called iPhone SE or iPhone 9, could have a starting price under $400, and generate some growth with the timetable uncertain for a new flagship smartphone for the California giant.

“While launching a mid-cycle budget/entry-level smartphone into the backdrop of a consumer global lockdown and unprecedented pandemic will be head scratcher to some, we note that Apple is viewing this as a low volume, low touch release with little fanfare as the phones are already ready to ship,” Wedbush Securities analyst Daniel Ives said in a research note.

Ives said Apple is likely to be able to sell 20 million to 25 million of the new devices before a new flagship iPhone 12 is ready to ship.

Any new smartphone release would be without the splashy unveiling for which Apple is known, and would rely on online sales with most retail stores closed.

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