Apple is to release another cheaper iPhone next year as part of a trio of smartphone launches as it battles to revive sluggish recent sales for its latest models.
The iPhone maker will launch a follow up to its iPhone XR, the cheaper model in its current iPhone line up, as sales fall in developing markets such as China, where Apple has struggled recently.
The follow up phone will stick with a liquid crystal display (LCD), which is cheaper than the organic LED display on its premium iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max.
However, it is planning to revamp some of its technology to catch up to rivals even as the global smartphone market stalls. The smartphones could be revealed by Apple in September, when it regularly shows off its latest new models.
It is considering a triple-lens camera design for its most expensive new smartphone, while the cheaper model could benefit from a rear dual-lens camera system.
The news, first reported in the Wall Street Journal, comes as sales of the iPhone in China continue to suffer. Apple chief executive Tim Cook confirmed in a letter to shareholders last week that the company was cutting its quarterly revenue target after a major sales dip in the country.
On Chinese online retailer Suning, owned by Alibaba, the iPhone XR was available at a discount of up to 20 per cent to add an incentive to would-be buyers.
Apple only released its new iPhone XR in October, and discounts are unusual on its latest iPhones.
Last week, Apple confirmed it expected sales over the Christmas quarter to be down to US$84 billion ($122.9b), down from its earlier estimates of between US$89b and US$93b. It is only the second time Apple had revised its earnings since 2002.