CORAL GABLES, FL - FEBRUARY 10: Julie Bennink makes a phone call on her new iPhone that she had just purchased at a Verizon Wireless stores after they started selling the smart phone on February 10, 2011 in Coral Gables, Florida. AT&T had previously had a monopoly on selling the iPhone since 2007. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Apple will not discontinue the iPhone 3GS and it may stay in production so it can be sold for $250 contract-free in developing countries, a report said today.
In the developing world, where prepaid smartphones are popular, the iPhone 3GS could be competitive and sell between $250 and $300, analyst Peter Misek with Jefferies told AppleInsider. Misek said he heard that Apple has an agreement with a leading distributor that hopes to sell the iPhone in prepaid markets.
While the iPhone 3GS is usually given for free with a two-year contract in the United States, the 2009 iPhone is a hotter commodity in countries like China and India. While the U.S. is jonesing for 4G phones, the developing world is just starting to gain stable 3G service, so the higher-priced iPhone 4S would be of little benefit in those countries.
Smartphones are still a relatively new thing for the world, with approximately 79 percent of mobile phone users still using feature phones. So Apple and other handheld manufacturers will have differing strategies for the developing and the developed world. Either way, we think it's a good thing that the iPhone 3GS can be recycled and have a new life elsewhere.