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Tuesday, January 08, 2013, 02:10 pm PT (05:10 pm ET)

WSJ: Apple to build cheaper iPhone as smartphone dominance slips

In a tweet on Tuesday, The Wall Street Journal claimed Apple is currently working on a cheaper iPhone that could hit the market as soon as this year.

iPhone 5


Coming just hours after DigiTimes said Apple would be releasing a less expensive iPhone with a larger 5-inch screen, The Journal tweeted an identical message seemingly corroborating the earlier report.

According to people briefed on the matter, Apple is reportedly looking to a new audience with the less expensive iPhone, a move the WSJ claims is in response to slipping smartphone supremacy.

While Apple has supposedly tossed around the idea of building a more affordable iPhone "for years," the plan is progressing toward a release in the second half of 2013.

The new device could be unveiled later this year and be marketed as an entry-level model to Apple's flagship iPhone. Sources say the cheaper unit may take on the form factor and design of the current iPhone with a chassis made from less exotic materials like polycarbonate. Other parts could "remain the same or be recycled from older iPhone models."