Robert Evatt: Sales of older iPhones fulfill 'cheaper' strategy
BY ROBERT EVATT World Staff Writer
Tuesday, January 15, 2013
1/15/13 at 4:12 AM
One of the goofier yet enduring aspects of tech news is loud arguments over things that don't exist.
The latest round of speculation focuses on a cheaper iPhone. Rumors that Apple Inc. would be developing a less-expensive model of its smartphone became so loud that Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide marketing, issued a statement insisting that cheap smartphones will never be the future of Apple's products.
There's plenty of grammar-lawyer wiggle room here. For instance, "cheap" could refer to something that's badly made, and "the future" could imply that such a product could exist but wouldn't be the main focus. But all this debate over a new, cheaper iPhone baffles me, mainly because a cheaper iPhone already exists.
Over the past few models, Apple's decided to continue selling older versions of the iPhone. Today you can pick up an iPhone 4S for $99.99 with a two-year contract extension. Not cheap enough for you? The iPhone 4 now goes for the low price of zilch.
Apple has improved the iPhone with each model. Yet even today, the iPhone 4 isn't a bad device. It's still reasonably speedy, runs most apps and includes most of the recent iOS upgrades.
Sure, they're not the greatest phones, but - with the exception of the criminally underselling Windows Phones - neither are most inexpensive smartphones. They aren't the fastest, and they're missing some features. But they are cheap.
And, by all indications, the older-model iPhones are selling. Unless I'm missing something, there's no reason the people at Apple should take the time and money to reinvent something that's already working for them.
Fireflies brighten LEDs
Inspiration for new inventions and improvements can come from some truly odd places, and now we can add one more - a bug's behind.
In a report in the MIT Technology Review, scientists from the University of Namur in Belgium noticed that the lumpy scales on firefly abdomens prevent reflection back to the source, resulting in more of the summertime glow getting through.
Researchers at the University of Sherbrooke in Quebec, Canada, took things a step further and covered traditionally smooth LEDs with a jagged substance. Voila, the LEDs instantly became 55 percent brighter. They concluded that the process could easily be applied to commercial products soon.
Original Print Headline: Cheaper way to get iPhone already exists
A girl touches the screen of an iPhone-shaped interactive memorial to Steve Jobs, the late co-founder of Apple Inc., last week in Russia at the Techno Park of the St. Petersburg National Research University of Information Technologies, Mechanics and Optics. DMITRY LOVEYSKY / Associated Press