A $149 iPhone could be in the works for the end of 2013

According to sources familiar with Apple’s plans, the company has been testing the waters for an inexpensive iPhone that could cost as little as $149 sans subsidy. The idea of a cheap iPhone has excited analysts for years, as Apple seems reluctant to let go of its premium brand image in exchange for massive worldwide market share.

But as low-end Android and Windows Phone devices continue to improve in speed, build quality and desireability, Apple would be missing a huge opportunity for that developing market. This is according to Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal, both of which claim to have insider knowledge about the company’s plans.

Neither publication is sure whether the phone will ever emerge from the testing labs, but the idea of a cheap iPhone, available to millions of users who could not otherwise afford it, continues to entice. It’s more likely, however, that Apple will draw down its product line as it has in the past, offering its one and two generation-old products at a discount. In Canada, for example, you can still purchase an iPhone 4 for $0 on a 3-year contract, and the iPhone 4S is approaching that price on many carriers, too.

Source: Bloomberg, WSJ