After a report in the Wall Street Journal, the Internet was abuzz with chatter about a new, smaller iPhone being dreamed up by the wizards at Apple. The New York Times has a competing report out today: Apple isn't planning a smaller phone, according to the paper, but is instead looking for ways to bring down the cost of the iPhone so that it can reach a wider audience.

The paper's sources say that Apple engineers are too busy finishing up the iPhone 5, which is expected to debut this summer, to be worrying about an iPhone Mini. One source says that an iPhone Mini wouldn't be cheaper to manufacture, and it may adversely affect apps written for the existing iPhone's 3.5-inch screen.

Instead, Apple will continue to make the previous iPhone generations a low-cost alternative to the newest model. This time around, Apple may also change some internal hardware to drive down the price of older models, according to the NYT's source. Such a move would still allow Apple to compete with increasingly cheap Android devices.

Apple currently offers the 8 gigabyte iPhone 3GS for $49 with a two-year contract. That model, the third in the iPhone's lineage, could potentially be offered for free with a contract following the release of the iPhone 5. The iPhone 4 could drop in price by half to $99.

Read the full story at MobileBeat.

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