Analyst: don’t expect a new low-end iPhone

An analyst has serious doubts about earlier reports that suggested a low-end iPhone was on the way.

Yesterday, speculation began to run that Apple could be preparing to launch a pre-paid version of the iPhone for customers on a budget.

But BMO Capital analyst Keith Bachman doesn’t think that makes much sense. Apple is all about the glitz and glamor, and virtually every new product it announces is intended for high-end customers only.

That doesn’t mean that budget-conscious consumers will be totally shunned from the iPhone market, though. Something interesting has happened over the last several months – AT&T has been re-marketing the iPhone 3GS as an affordable way for wannabe iPhoners to get into the market.

For AT&T, it also makes sense because Verizon doesn’t have the authority to sell the iPhone 3GS, so AT&T gets to tout its availability as the exclusive carrier for an affordable iPhone.

Bachman sees this as the way of the future for iPhone consumers. “We believe that the 3GS will be the low-end iPhone,” he wrote.

Meanwhile, Dan Heyler, a semiconducor analyst who works for Merrill Lynch in Taipei, was quoted as saying the iPhone 6 stands to begin production in 2012.

While that isn’t likely to surprise anyone, it’s the first time such a high-ranking analyst has said anything about the device that will replace the as-yet unannounced iPhone 5.

Details of the iPhone 5 remain unclear, as conflicting reports suggest there may be a new version of the iPhone 4, or a direct jump to the number “5,” or perhaps even two new devices coming out at nearly the same time.

Of course Apple is being tight-lipped about the whole situation. Many expected to hear something about a new iPhone at the company’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference earlier this month, but that didn’t happen.

Before that, there were even hints that a new iPhone would be released this month. Clearly the plans are still not perfectly known, but the current scuttlebutt pins the next device as coming out in September.

While there may not be any huge technological advancements for the iPhone 5, it’s expected the iPhone 6 will introduce the A6 processing chip from Apple, which could possibly be a quad-core mobile processor, something that hasn’t been seen before.