Apple may be working on a cheaper, smaller iPhone on track for a midyear release, according to a Thursday report from Bloomberg that offered a glimpse into what may be going on in the company’s development labs. These new versions are aimed at slowing the advance of competing handsets based on Google Inc.’s Android software.

The company has reportedly considered offering the new handset for $200 without a two-year contract, about the same as its lowest contract phone when subsidized by carriers AT&T and Verizon. That kind of move, Charlie Wolf, an analyst at Needham & Co. in New York, told Bloomberg, would let Apple drastically increase its target market for the iPhone.

The handset is reportedly about one-third smaller than the current iPhone and uses many of the same components. The lower price is possible because the costs of the components will drop as the technology ages.

If china can make a iPhone mini, why cant apple?

“Instead of targeting 25 percent of the global mobile-phone market, Apple would be going after 100 percent,” Charlie Wolf, an analyst at Needham & Co, told Bloomberg.

The company may also launch a dual-core phone to work on both the international GSM network used by AT&T and the Verizon CDMA network.

The source also revealed that Apple initially aimed to unveil the device mid-way through 2011 and very few Apple employees know the ‘iPhone mini’ exists.
Apple has not responded to other organizations’ requests for comment.

All of that would be great news for Apple fans, though, as Bloomberg points out, many Apple concepts never make it to launch.

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