re: 8 Ways Apple Could Make A Cheaper iPhone
Almost none of the ways mentioned in the story/graphic would significantly reduce the iPhone manufacturing costs. A plastic case would have a negligible effect on price. A cheaper camera might save a few bucks. Less memory? Maybe a little ... but you have to have enough to store songs, photos and videos, let alone run apps. Recycled components? Not likely -- the costs of getting them off old boards, testing them and putting them back into production would likely out-weigh the benefits.
Apple would be better off just selling more of the older models at an even lower price, thanks to cost savings due higher volume production. But a less-capable iPhone really isn't The Apple Way. Who wants a cheap-feeling plastic phone with a lousy screen and hampered capabilities? (I'm resisting the urge to take a cheap shot at so many of the Android phones here. ;-)
Seriously: I can see Apple wanting to prevent others from getting the low-end market, because it wants to prevent people from getting comfortable in another ecosystem and on another platform. But a crippled, flimsy product doesn't seem like the way to go. Instead, give them a well-engineered, quality phone at a lower (or competitive) price, due to volume efficiencies.
Oh ... as for cannibalizing iPod Touch sales ... I don't see that happening, because the Touch doesn't involve a monthly service fee like the phones. They're different animals. People who need a phone aren't going to consider the Touch. And people who want a nifty hand-held device for running some games or work-related apps aren't going to sign up for monthly service fees. If that were the case, the cheap/free iPhones would have killed sales of the Touch, which hasn't yet happened.