Apple iPhone 3GS to be axed

iPhone 3GS

Apple has decided to discontinue production of the 8GB iPhone 3GS, supply chain sources have confirmed to IT Pro.

The 3GS was released in June 2009, and proved a huge hit selling over a million units in the opening weekend.

Despite becoming an entry-level device after the launch of the iPhone 4, the 3GS has continued to sell well, with estimates suggesting Apple was still shipping over a million units a quarter.

It is perhaps unsurprising the 3GS is being retired, as it is over three years old. Although, its core specifications, which include a 600MHz processor and 256MB of RAM, are not too far off the latest iPhone 4S (1GHz/512MB).

This has allowed the third generation device to receive all the major over-the-air updates for iOS, making it one of the best supported handheld Apple devices to date.

With the iPhone 5 set to launch with iOS 6 next week, there were suggestions the 3GS may be provided with an upgrade over-the-air.

However, sources have confirmed to IT Pro that Apple has decided to retire the device to focus on the production of the iPhone 4, 4S and 5.

"The 3GS does not have core hardware features such as a front-facing camera, so it will not be able to allow users to make video calls over 3G - a feature Apple is pushing with iOS 6," the source told IT Pro.

"Once retailers and operators have burnt through their stock of the 3GS, they will not be replenished by Apple."

Retailers and operators could slash the prices of devices to clear inventory and the price of the iPhone 4 is also likely to drop once it becomes the de-facto entry-level device.

Apple declined to comment on their production cycle, stating that it does not respond to rumours and speculation.

Khidr Suleman is the Technical Editor at IT Pro, a role he has fulfilled since March 2012. He is responsible for the reviews section on the site  - so get in touch if you have a product you think might be of interest to the business world. He also covers the hardware and operating systems beats. Prior to joining IT Pro, Khidr worked as a reporter at Incisive Media. He studied law at the University of Reading and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Magazine Journalism and Online Writing at PMA Training.