I must admit it… I really want an iPhone. I love my iPod Touch, but it lacks the “anywhere access” to the Internet that would make it truly useful for me (beyond being a great music player). The thing that prevents me from buying an iPhone is the price. So you would think that the latest rumor of Apple preparing to release a lower priced iPhone would interest me.

Unfortunately it doesn’t interest me, and it shouldn’t interest you either.

Rumored lower cost iPhone

Rumor has it Apple is prepping a lower cost iPhone

No, the cost of the iPhone is not the issue. It’s the cost of the plan that prevents me, and probably many of you, from owning an iPhone. With a minimum monthly fee of $70, probably hovering around $80 after taxes and other B.S. fees from AT&T, the iPhone is placed just out of reach of millions of potential buyers.

The cost of the iPhone really wouldn’t even come into the discussion. After all, we both already own iPods, which cost more than the iPhone. My wife and I pay less for two phones, unlimited texting and more minutes than we can shake a stick at than the cost of just one iPhone plan from AT&T – and the cell service is pretty darn good (T-Mobile). While we don’t have the uber-cool interface, and nowhere near the features of the iPhone, it is at the end of the day a serviceable phone and affordable monthly plan.

Apple has seen steady growth in the smartphone market in general, and a virtual lock on the hip phone market. While the Blackberry still holds the crown for most popular smartphone, its appeal is limited to mostly the corporate crowd. The iPhone on the other hand has appeal to virtually everyone from teenagers to retirees. That’s a lot of potential customers!

So I’m left to wonder what Apple has to gain by selling a lower-cost iPhone. I suspect I’m not alone in thinking the iPhone cost is of no concern. I also suspect that Apple knows they’re missing out on a ton of sales simply because AT&T offers horrible service at an obscene price. Yet they are apparently sticking with AT&T for the long-haul as the exclusive iPhone carrier. Ugh!

It just doesn’t make sense… or cents.

Opening up the iPhone to a second carrier would ultimately force both of them to lower their costs, thus removing the real barrier to mass iPhone adoption – possibly even offering them stronger corporate sales. It would also remove any need for Apple to release a lower-cost iPhone, or discount existing models. After all, most Apple fans are used to paying a bit more for quality hardware, but but we don’t generally opt for paying more for sub-par services. Apple need only to look at the sales numbers for MobileMe to see that.

Since I know Apple doesn’t make it a habit of listening to its customers, I’ll just have to hope they release an iPod Touch with a 3G mobile Internet plan like the iPad.