Would a free iPhone 6 kill Android?

March 5, 2013
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This week the rumor of a "free" iPhone release has once again been rumbling in the technology news world, complete with talk that such a (subsidized) product revealed by Apple would take a heavy toll on Android-based device sales. As a user of both Android devices and the iPhone 5, I can't say that a device like this handset (modified for its re-release) wouldn't be a massive temptation for prospective phone buyers around the world. Especially with the notion of multiple colored-cases and an even lighter and thinner unit than ever before.

As the story goes, the iPhone 6 will be released before the end of the second half of 2014, it having been joined by not only the iPhone 5S between here and there, but an unnamed iPhone alternative that costs absolutely nothing - just so long as you pick it up on a carrier with a 2-year contract, of course. And this wouldn't be the first time Apple has offered such a deal.

When the iPhone 4S was first revealed, the iPhone 3GS was placed in the $0 USD slot - with the iPhone 4 then taking the middle spot for pricing between the two nicer and slightly less nice handsets. With the iPhone 5S being a release that will be a surprise to noone later this year, we can expect at least one device to continue to be free. It would make sense that this slot would be taken by the iPhone 4S.

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But as the Android-based smartphone universe continues to expand, Apple is - or has to be, on some level or another - looking to find ways to remain a dominant force in the industry. As they do this, they'll be considering ways and means of remaining so significant to the everyday smartphone user that they'll consider switching from using an Android-based handset to using an iPhone.

Could it be that releasing a brand "new" handset for an unbelievably low price will be Apple's strategy?

Alas, the industry isn't there yet. Apple is still at a point where the battle between iOS and Android can be fought with the iPhone demanding a premium price point, even when it's not the newest device on the market. Even if we do see a "budget friendly" release of an iPhone in the near future, it will not be free.

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Releasing a device for free requires that you do one of two things unless you intend on sinking your reputation as a company worth investing in. The first possibility is that you do as Apple has done in the past - releasing a new phone with a premium price point while the "free" model exists as a unit that's been available for some pre-determined amount of time. The other possibility is that you reveal a "free" product under very special circumstances - benefitting a charity, offering the device with advertisements onboard, or selling some sort of product with the first product as an add-on.

And Android will survive one way or another. The operating system that is Android is in a position right this minute that allows those working with it to react to situations like a free iPhone quickly. There are simply too many players on the board at this time for Android to die in any sort of speedy manner. Expect Android to be around for a very, very long time.

Meanwhile you can feel free to expect free Android smartphones to be arriving in droves, all around the world - on contract, of course. The time is near!


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  • IRIE4IPIEIR

    Stupid iPhone user. What are you doing blogging on this site.

  • http://www.androidcommunity.com Cory Gunther

    Don’t get out the pitchforks.. haha it’s just a thought.

  • Marsg

    Not at all, the reason why Android has become so popular is the fact that it gives the user the freedom to make the phone theirs in every way be it customization or just simply giving direct access to files and settings, and lets not forget its the only mobile OS at the moment with true multitasking. In fact there are free iPhone’s right now in the market like the iPhone 4 and even the 4s in some areas. Yet every iPhone looks basicly the same with the only difference resting in the wallpaper used or the placement of the icons. At one point consumers will just want a change, i mean if i was buying a new iPhone every other year for 5-10 years with minimal difference between them, it would just get boring.

  • michael sanchez

    My thought exactly. Go away

  • Marsg

    I think everyone is being a little too critical over this article, instead of just blurting out insults, offer a reasonable and factual argument to support you’r stance.

  • Gamesarefun83

    Hi everyone, I just thought I would mention that here in the UK all carriers offer EVERY smartphone from the iPhone 5, to the Xperia Z, to the HTC One for ‘FREE’ on 12, 18, or 24 month contracts. So for the US this might be something new but for the rest of us it’s just how it has always been – nothing special. Trust me, it hasn’t made any sort of dent in Android’s popularity. None whatsoever.

    • Alec Smith

      You don’t get it.. the article is theorizing what would happen if the iPhone 6 launched free, yet all the other android phones remained expensive. Every phone being free is a completely different scenerio dude.

      • geeksix

        In fairness to @b097bc2a2fa9453c361f39f3fb2b6321:disqus he does bring a fair point to the table, Making an iPhone ‘Free’ on contract in the states basically puts it on the level with allot of android options, therefore removing price and leaving just hardware+software as the deciding points for the user.

        In the UK this has mostly been the case for some time, and Android success has been pretty awesome.

        Yes, if the iPhone drops to ‘Free’ then in the states I’m sure there will be high end Androids which will probably still have a Handset Cost + Contract but the big players aren’t stupid and would ajust.

  • http://profiles.google.com/pittaxx Arunas P

    As someone already mentioned, UK is an excellent example. Here we can get any mobile for full prize, or get one “on contract” without paying anything. On top of that, even if you take a fanciest handset, the bills are nowhere close to the US ones.

    If your assumption was correct, most of the people would walk with iphones here, but in practice our iphone market share is probably only half of what we see in US.

    That being said, it’s very strange for us to see people in the US referring to subsidized phones with contracts as “free”, just because you do not have alternatives…

  • John Smith

    Dear Android Authority why do you validate this crap? Apple already said that they won’t supply a discounted IPhone let alone a free one, on top of the fact that Apple makes a major part of its money from IPhone sales being that they are a hardware company. Google can offer a subsidized Nexus 4 because they are an advertising company and not a hardware company.

    • http://www.androidcommunity.com Cory Gunther

      This is Android Community, not Authority ;) and we’re just imagining the possibilities

  • Alec Smith

    I liked this article, it was thought provoking.

  • Chris Stroemel

    If anything, it would be good for Android because it would kill off the Samsung-using crowd and leave the more dedicated users where they presently are. Samsung’s dominance is stagnating the Android ecosystem, so with them gone I’m sure that Android would grow back even stronger than it is now in a year’s time.

    Basically, it would be like the 2011 Android Renaissance all over again: lot’s of new devices from lots of manufacturers, with lots of really innovative features.

    • Steve_

      Forget the idea of SAMSUNG death.;)

      It’s a 190+ Billion division of 300+ Billion SAMSUNG Group:

      75,000 tech patents (Apple: 7,000),
      5,000 tech patents a year (Apple: 500),
      endless manufacturing possibilities
      enormous R&D (10X of Apple’s “R&D”)

      tech giant SAMSUNG is incredibly important for the whole industry!

      Google’s ideas+Motorola’s engineering+SAMSUNG innovations=what Android needs.

      • Chris Stroemel

        And what exactly are those Samsung “innovations?” All they do is rebrand core Android features as if they invented them.

      • Vivghkl

        Are you really short sighted ? The ENEMY is Apple and always will be. And for your info, there’s a whole raft of innovations on each Note 2 and S3 then you could ever dream to have in your deluded HTC/Sony mind. people like you kill the Android ecosystem, not Samsung, short sighted people like you fail to realise without a major player in the Android ecosystem Apple would still be regarded as the premium handset maker to be beaten, where rivals using the Google OS are being seen playing catch up with little to no recognition, bar Sony but each attempt with a new model makes it look as if they are. Inferiority complex and the like with spec bumps (which I assume you fall into this category), with Samsung, you don’t really need that recognition and even gets mentioned as the main arch rival of the Fruit company in Apple articles, a feat rarely mentioned for HTC/Sony/Motorola (the latter pretty non existent in Asia and Europe) Go on, keep on dreaming and hating, your short sightedness is exactly what the Apple fanboys want, in fighting between the Android OEMS which will ultimately lead to the death of the OS. Idiot.

      • bzz

        not sure if its still the case but samsung were manufacturing apples processors…unsure if this is still true but yeh pretty much proves a point ;)

  • Zachary Morris

    Why would they go from the most overpriced phone on the market to free?

  • http://www.facebook.com/michaelgonzalez2012 Michael Gonzalez

    One people are failing to realize is that the phone would only be free with a 2 year contract. Because of the contract it isn’t much of a deal at all. Any of us can go onto Amazon Wireless and get the latest and greatest phone for practically nothing if we signed up for a 2yr. Hell I get a brand new phone every year by renewing my 1 yr contract and I only pay about $100 each time. That was how much I paid for my GS3, and when my contract is up for renewal that’s what I’m going to pay for the GS4.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ruel.celerio.9 Ruel Celerio

    No, it won’t kill Android. On the contrary, it will in fact kill CrApple. For two reasons: 1) Both company have deeeeeeeeep pockets. But Google has the advantage because their pockets can easily be replenished by their revenues from dozen other sources. Unlike Apple who’s main cash cow are the CrApple products. 2) Zero cost? You think Google cannot match that? Let’s look back here, who among the two is the veteran in discounted pricing? Google will eat CrApple alive!

    Tim Cook is even indecisive in giving back its hoards of cash to its shareholders, and Apple have even manipulated the price of ebooks so that it won’t go down, and now they’re giving free phones? I don’t think so. But yeah, give me one so that I can smash it. Then give me another one… then another….

  • Steve

    Apple = made in China.

    how cheap/mass-market/generic/boring can made in China Apple’s products become and still be considered as premium ones? People forget what “premium” means.

    ios is outdated stalled uninspiring calculator OS.

    how many articles “Will iphone 6/7/8 kill Android”do wee need?

    free iphone 6/7/8 is an exclusive feature?
    “free” with 24-month contract iphone 6/7/8?
    “free” with 24-month contract Android.

    tech giant SAMSUNG manufactures its smartphones and is the largest manufacturer of components.
    SAMSUNG is incredibly well-positioned for every possible change.

    While Google and SAMSUNG innovate and are able to manufacture ABSOLUTELY AMAZING THINGS tomorrow, pathetic Apple thinks how to make cheaper for consumers its made in China devices.

    Android = #1.

  • Paul D

    Even when the iphone is distributed for free, i don’t want to have an iphone.
    The iphone is a Jail on Pocket size.

  • iPhone lover

    iPhone is the best. Priod.

  • iPhone lover

    iPhone is the best. Period.

  • registeringwithdisqusisapain

    Apple has never been known to fight a price war, especially one that it knows it can lose.