Six months after it launched the iPhone 11 series, Apple is likely to expand its product portfolio with the introduction of a new smartphone. According to Bloomberg, the Cupertino, California-based technology giant will start mass production of the new phone in China next month, following that up with an official launch in March. While the report does not reveal the name of the new device, TechSpot reports that Apple could call this phone the iPhone 9. This is the same handset that was earlier referred to as the iPhone SE 2.
The low-cost iPhone 9 will be primarily sold in emerging markets like India, Indonesia, and Southeast Asia. The Bloomberg report also reveals that Apple has chosen three companies -- Hon Hai Precision Industry, Pegatron, and Wistron -- for the production of the new handsets. While Hon Hai and Pegatron have manufacturing plants in China, Wistron has production facilities in China, Taiwan, and India. The company only recently inaugurated its third production facility in India.
While the complete spec sheet of the iPhone 9 -- or iPhone SE 2 -- will only be revealed on the day of its launch, rumors have been floating around concerning the size of its display. The iPhone 9, apart from featuring a 4.7-inch IPS LCD panel, will also get a physical home button with support for Touch ID. This is a feature that Apple had phased out from most of its new handsets. The use of an LCD screen also rules out the possibility of the iPhone 9 supporting an in-display fingerprint scanner. To keep costs low, the iPhone 9 will not feature 5G connectivity, only supporting 3G and 4G VoLTE networks.
Consumers have been hearing rumors about Apple's incoming low-cost iPhone models for a long time now, per The Inquisitr. These rumors stemmed from the fact that Apple had, in 2016, launched its first low-cost model, the iPhone SE. The general expectation was that the company would launch a successor to that phone in 2017. That never happened, and to this day, the iPhone SE remains the only budget iPhone sold by Apple. This effectively meant that those on the lookout for a relatively affordable iPhone had no choice but to opt for an older model. In fact, Apple makes a good chunk of money with the sale of older products.
Apple's decision to launch an entry-level iPhone model largely stems from the company's inability to make inroads into emerging markets. While brands like Apple and Samsung continue to dominate the high-end smartphone market, they have had a hard time competing with Chinese brands like OnePlus and Xiaomi in markets like India, where -- according to Business Today -- Apple devices account for less than 2 percent of the smartphone market share.