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iPhone is going frugal as it looks to battle Android rivals.

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That’s according to reports from the Wall Street Journal which suggest Apple’s budget iPhone is in the making, which could be sold for as little as $300 – or more than half the price of the current model.

Apple’s iPhone has always been at the super- pricey end of the market, retailing for AU$799 for an introductory iPhone 5, so this is certainly a major turnaround for Cupertino, if true.

(Apple has a sneaky habit of stealing thunder from rivals, all of whom are camped out at CES 2013 in sunny Vegas. We wonder was this tip off planned. I’d almost bet my Samsung S III on it.)

The news comes as Samsung released its $8.3 billion profit estimate for final quarter 2012, yesterday, and says it sold 500 devices per minute in the three months Oct-Dec.

This news and rival Samsung’s massive success in the phone market has clearly irked Apple, as the savvy South Koreans now outstrip iPhone sales by a mile, knocking it off its perch as king of the smartphones.

Samsung’s Galaxy S III was the biggest selling phone in final month of 2012 and Samsung’s strategy of releasing a slew of mobiles to suit all tastes and pockets is clearly paying off.

In Q3 last, Samsung sold double the number of Apple phones with 55 million Galaxys V 23.6 million iPhones globally.

“The cheaper phone could resemble the standard iPhone, with a different, less-expensive body,” the Journal declares.

Some components could be recycled from older iPhones to cut down costs.

 

And lets not forget Apple have gone price friendly of late, with an iPad mini and reduced price of largest iPad also.

Neil Mawston from Strategy Analytics also touted the possible release of an iPhone mini, just this week.

“We think Apple will have to launch an iPhone Mini at some point over the next three years to address the hundreds of millions of prepaid users worldwide that cannot afford the current iPhone,” he told Reuters.

“The iPhone 5 is growing fast and profitably right now, so there is little incentive for Apple to launch an iPhone Mini this year.”

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