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If Apple Goes Cheap, It Will End Up Firing Tim Cook

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- There's a frightening misnomer rambling in the ether about the "need" for Apple (AAPL - Get Report) to do a cheap iPhone.

To qualify, I don't think Apple will do the cheap iPhone everybody keeps predicting. An ultra-low-priced model made out of plastic. Though not parallel situations, refer back to the prediction I made ahead of the iPad mini launch. But, again, the situations are not completely analogous.

Apple simply made a smaller version of the existing iPad, but without the Retina Display. Not very innovative, but a nice placeholder nevertheless. Premium priced at $329, it crushed the category, plus proved that Apple has no business competing on price ... because it doesn't have to!.

As such, expect Tim Cook to stick to his promise: We don't build crappy products. Because a plastic phone at a "cheap" price point would, make no mistake, be "crappy" by Apple standards. And really that's what 2013-14 comes down to for Apple and Tim Cook's job security: What are Apple's standards? Do they even have standards anymore?

I think they do. So we'll see nothing made out of plastic or meant to compete with the bottom of the barrel. If we do, I'll be alarmed. And Cook will -- faster than Phil Schiller can say Can't innovate? My ass -- sign up for California's generous unemployment benefits.

You can only do different sizes, shapes and colors and present minor -- and expected -- upgrades to existing product lines for so long. That non-strategy makes it appear as if you're running out of ideas and merely copying competition that sells its soul for marketshare. That's not to say, Apple cannot merely iterate iPhone and iPad. These products are so good, so beloved that I don't want them to be revolutionary.

However, to win over folks making the switch to a smartphone Apple might have to do more with a product like iPhone. That's where the misnomer about the need for cheap comes in. Consumers purchase a meaningful number of older model, discounted iPhones (4, 4S) over iPhone 5 because they're not stupid. Even if you have money to blow, why not save $100 or $200 if the back issue isn't all that different from the purportedly latest and greatest? Or, even worse, why not take a look at what another company, such as Samsung, is doing?

Consumers don't want cheap from Apple. They want Apple to wow them like Apple used to.

Tim Cook must wow the Google Glasses right off of your face at the September 10th event or shortly thereafter. Do it with iPhone or, preferably, do it on a brand new product we weren't expecting. One that will change the game just like its recent, instantly-iconic predecessors.

Move or get off the pot. The slogan has become Think Different with a corollary from the peanut gallery of Just Do It.

-- Written by Rocco Pendola in Santa Monica, Calif.
Rocco Pendola is TheStreet's Director of Social Media. Pendola's daily contributions to TheStreet frequently appear on CNBC and at various top online properties, such as Forbes.

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