Apple's iPhone 11

  • Apple could release a cheaper, 4G-only version of its expected iPhone 12 in early 2021, according to a new report from Wedbush Securities.
  • Apple is expected to release several new iPhone models in the fall that will all support 5G connectivity.
  • If Apple does release a cheaper 4G iPhone 12 next year, it would come after the tech giant has been leaning heavily into more affordable products to boost its iPhone business.
  • Apple typically releases its new iPhones in late September, but the company said it's expecting to receive supply a few weeks later than usual this year.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Apple's annual fall iPhone launch is steadily approaching, but that may not be all the tech giant has in store when it comes to smartphone launches in the next several months.

Apple may release a cheaper version of the iPhone 12 that comes with 4G connectivity instead of support for 5G networks, says a new research note from Wedbush Securities written by analysts Daniel Ives, Strecker Backe, and Ahmad Khalil.

Wedbush initially expected Apple to launch a mix of 4G and 5G-enabled versions of its iPhone 12 this fall. But the firm revised its predictions after its most recent Asia supply chain checks, now saying that it expects to see multiple 5G iPhones in the fall and a cheaper 4G model in early 2021.

Apple did not immediately respond to Business Insider's request for comment.

Apple could launch this 4G-only variant around the February time frame, Ives told Business Insider. This version of the iPhone 12 is also expected to be cheaper than the 5G models launching in September. Other details about the device are unclear, but Ives predicts that Apple could price the non-5G iPhone at around $800.

He also said that Apple isn't likely to raise the prices of this year's iPhones, even for the models that do include 5G. The company is likely to launch some 5G models below $1,000 and others that are priced similarly to the iPhone 11 Pro, echoing predictions he made last month.

"Price points will be aggressive as Apple goes after their broader customer base," Ives said. "Especially in a recession, in a COVID-19 backdrop, they need to make sure they're hitting all price categories."

If Apple does release a cheaper 4G iPhone in early 2021, it would come as the company has been increasingly focused on more affordable devices to boost its smartphone sales.

Last fall, for example, it launched the iPhone 11, which is cheaper than the iPhone XR's starting price. The iPhone 11 was the most popular smartphone in the world during the first quarter of 2020, overtaking the iPhone XR, according to market research firm Omdia.

More recently, Apple launched the  iPhone SE in April, a bet that's already paying off for the tech behemoth. Apple attributed the growth that its iPhone division experienced in its fiscal third-quarter to positive reception of the iPhone SE, among other factors, the company said during its recent earnings call.

Apple is expected to release four versions of the iPhone 12 this fall, all of which are said to come with 5G connectivity according to reports. Apple may introduce new size options and a refreshed design that more closely resembles that of the iPad Pro, according to reports from TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo and Bloomberg.

Apple typically unveils its new iPhones in mid-September and begins selling them later that same month, but the company said it expects supply of its next-generation iPhone to arrive a few weeks later than usual this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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