APPLE is trying to decide whether it makes sense to offer a cheaper iPhone, as it tries to boost sales in less-affluent countries.
The company want to reclaim some of the market share lost to cheaper phones running Google's Android software, according to a report published in The Wall Street Journal.
Researchers speculated that Apple could lower the iPhone's price by equipping the device with an exterior that costs less than the aluminum housing on current models.
A cheaper iPhone could come out as early as this year, or the idea could be tabled for future consideration, as has previously happened.
Citing unnamed people familiar with the matter, the Journal said that Apple began assessing the pros and cons of making a cheaper iPhone in 2009 and has periodically revisited the notion.
Apple so far has stuck with an approach that has stamped the iPhone as the gold standard, a device that warrants a higher price than other smartphones.
Under this tack, favoured by Apple's late CEO, Steve Jobs, the company sells a premium-priced iPhone that has been updated annually with new features since it first came on the market in 2007.