Apple's budget iPhone is looking anything but cheap ... Apple is planning to price the lower-cost iPhone 5C at between $400 and $500 this fall. What's more, (KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi) Kuo says that Apple is planning to replace the iPhone 5 with the iPhone 5C as the budget option for consumers by the end of the year ...As with all Apple rumors, consume it with a grain salt and wash it down with cold beer, but this iPhone strategy makes sense. For all intents and purposes, it mirrors what the company did with iPad mini. Ahead of the iPad mini launch, everybody seemed to think Apple was finally going to sell itself out and compete on price. I didn't believe that for a second. As it turns out iPad mini merely comes in as a lower-priced alternative to the regular iPad. With the exception of the Retina Display (which might be coming), it's the exact same device. If Apple does an iPhone 5C that's a couple-to-a-few hundred bucks less expensive than the also, apparently forthcoming iPhone 5S, we have pretty much a replay. That's cool even if it's not innovative. Because, Apple has got something damn good with both iPhone and iPad. There's no need to be revolutionary with these icons; evolutionary is just fine. Apple doesn't need to change on the basis of market whims. At the same time, it doesn't need to compete on price. It's successful, in large part, because it has always done the exact opposite of these two seemingly intuitive reactions. While this rumor morphing into fact would clear up one situation, it doesn't address another. However, I'm hoping that if Apple doesn't compromise with iPhone -- in the spirit of what it did with iPad -- it's ready to reveal a brand new iconic product that flows logically from the game changers that came before it. Follow @rocco_thestreet -- Written by Rocco Pendola in Santa Monica, Calif.