Apple today announced two initiatives to expand the reach of iPad 4 tablets and iPhone 5c smartphones by adding their low cost models.
Low cost iPad 4
The American devices vendor said it would offer an iPad 4 tablet in place of the mid-range iPad 2 at the same price. Apple will discontinue iPad 2.
iPad 4 will be available at a price of $399 for the 16GB Wi-Fi model and $529 for the 16GB Wi-Fi + cellular model at the four major U.S. carriers including AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile US and Verizon Communications.
“For $399 customers can get iPad with a 9.7-inch Retina display, A6X chip, and 5MP iSight camera, offering a dramatic upgrade in power, performance and value compared to the iPad 2 it replaces,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing.
Apple discontinued the iPad 4 last year when it launched its current flagship tablet, the iPad Air. The company had cut the price of iPad 2 to $399 in 2012.
Low capacity iPhone 5c
The company launched a cheaper, lower capacity version of its plastic-backed iPhone 5C in Australia, China and some European countries including France and Germany. 8GB version of iPhone 5c will cost you 429 pounds ($710), 40 pounds cheaper than the 16GB version, in the U.K.
Gartner on Apple tablets
In 2013, the share of Apple’s iOS dropped 16.8 percent as the market demand was driven by the improved quality of smaller low-cost tablets from branded vendors, and white-box products continued to grow in emerging markets.
“Apple’s tablets remain strong in the higher end of the market and, Apple’s approach will continue to force vendors to compete with full ecosystem offerings, even in the smaller-screen market as the iPad mini sees a greater share,” said Roberta Cozza, research director at Gartner.
Apple’s main rival Samsung posted 336 percent growth in 2013. The expansion and improvement of Galaxy tablet portfolio, together with strong marketing and promotions, helped Samsung shrink the gap with Apple. Samsung’s over segmentation of its tablet portfolio helped it to offer a wider size and price choice.
While Samsung’s smartphone share was up in 2013 it fell by 1.6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013 — mainly due to a saturated high-end smartphone market in developed regions.
Gartner suggests that Samsung will need to build a clearer value proposition around its midrange smartphones, defining simpler user interfaces, pushing the right features as well as seizing the opportunity of bringing innovations to stand out beyond price in this growing segment.
Sales of iPhone 5s and continued strong demand for the 4s in emerging markets helped Apple
Apple’s share in smartphone declined both in the fourth quarter of 2013 and in 2013, but growth in sales helped to raise share in the overall mobile phone market.