When it introduced its new iPhones, Apple held onto one venerable model of the handset, while letting another fall to the wayside. Apple surprised a few observers as they dropped the iPhone 5, which was the previous flagship handset, while keeping the 8GB iPhone 4S around as the entry-level “free” model.
Retaining the 4S is in keeping with standard Apple procedure since the introduction of the iPhone 4 in 2010. That year saw Apple keeping the 4’s predecessor — the iPhone 3GS — in rotation as a cheaper option. The next year, with the release of the iPhone 4S, the iPhone 4 moved into the 3GS’ former slot, while the 3GS moved on to an even lower on-contract price point.
KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo had predicted that the iPhone 4S would hang around, even as the iPhone 5 made way for the iPhone 5c. With its smaller screen and slower processor, the iPhone 4S is most likely the cheapest handset for Apple to produce. Besides, it’s not like Apple is really giving them away free.
Pegatron is expected to handle at least half of the legacy iPhone 4S orders, which will provide competition with Foxconn, most likely driving down costs for Apple.
While the iPhone 4S is going into its third year of life, it is still the world’s second most popular smartphone, according to data from Strategy Analytics, losing out only to its younger sibling, the iPhone 5.
For even more details on all of Apple’s announcements, make sure to check out our roundup of everything Apple announced today at their event!