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Rumor: Unlocked, low-cost iPhone, iPhone 5, due ‘end of summer’

Apple iPhone 3GS

We know, we know: Everyone is sick of the next-generation iPhone reports based upon nothing but hearsay from anonymous sources. We’re sick of it, too — we’d rather be writing about physical devices from concrete sources. But there are enough of you out there who apparently love to parse through the ups, downs, ins and outs of Apple rumors that we can’t help but give you the latest Cupertino gossip. So here goes: Apple will allegedly release a “low-cost” iPhone in late summer, according to a report from BRG‘s Jonathan Gellar.

The less-expensive Apple handset will reportedly cost $350, without a contract. It may be available as a prepaid device, Gellar’s source says. (Apple currently sells an unlocked iPhone 4 starting at $649.) The device will purportedly either launch, or “at least be announced” by late-August, early-September.

Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean that Apple plans to release a new low-cost iPhone, rumors about which have been swirling around for months. It’s entirely possible that the less-expensive iPhone option will in fact be the long-available iPhone 3GS. This theory makes complete sense to us as the most likely viable option for Apple, who many financial experts say needs to make headway in the lower-end markets in order to compete with the growing threat of Android.

When it comes to the next-generation iPhone, however, the news is even less clear. First of all, we have no idea what it’s even going to be called, though either “iPhone 4S” or “iPhone 5” remain the most likely candidates. It’s also entirely unclear what the new iPhone will look like. Some say it will look almost exactly like the iPhone 4; others claim a radical redesign is in store. (Gellar’s source says it’s unlikely that we’ll see the totally new design this time around since we haven’t seen a single leaked case that would fit a redesigned iPhone.)

As always, all of this is entirely speculation. And with August coming up fast, it’s really not surprising that the iPhone rumor mill is is full-gear. After all, Apple’s already made us wait an extra month to debut its new phone — and it sounds as though we have at least another month before we’ll actually know anything at all.

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