$99 iPhone mini coming soon?

Can you imagine an iPhone mini costing as little as $99 (P4,027)?

Apple is planning to sell a smaller and cheaper version of its popular smartphone, with the price ranging from $99 to $149 (P4,027 to P6,061), Bloomberg reported.

Quoting a person familiar with the plans, Bloomberg said the cheaper iPhones are part of Apple's efforts to win over buyers from developing countries.

It added the smaller and cheaper iPhone may be unveiled in late 2013 at the earliest.

Bloomberg said that while Apple spokesperson Natalie Kerris declined to comment, The Wall Street Journal had also reported a cheaper iPhone may debut later this year.

Also, it said a cheaper iPhone would help Apple catch up with bitter rival Samsung and other makers of phones running Google's Android operating system.

The report quoted people familiar with the matter as saying the cheaper iPhone would use cheaper parts and may be smaller than current models.

On the other hand, it said Apple was also considering a more versatile version that would work on multiple wireless networks.

China a priority?

The Bloomberg report quoted Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook as saying China is a priority market, with Apple having generated $5.7 billion in sales in China in the quarter that ended in September.

More than two million iPhone 5s were sold in China during its weekend debut there last month. — TJD, GMA News