Budget iPhone to feature hybrid plastic/metal design, due later this year

By , Jan 15, 2013

3gs up close

Last week, DigiTimes released a report, claiming that its sources had seen prototypes of a low-cost iPhone floating around Apple’s supply chain. Both The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg corroborated the story via their own independent informants.

Today, DigiTimes offers up a few more details about the fabled handset, claiming that Apple is toying with both an all plastic and a hybrid plastic/metal chassis for the cheaper handset, as well as a special ‘see-through’ design. More details after the fold…

From DigiTimes’ report:

“Apple’s rumored entry-level iPhone reportedly may adopt plastic for its chassis instead of reinforced glass or unibody metal as in the company’s standard iPhone models, to save cost, according to sources from the upstream supply chain…

…other rumors are circulating that the entry-level iPhone will adopt a chassis mixed with plastic and metal, with the internal metal parts being able to be seen from outside through special design, the sources noted.”

The publication adds that its sources say the related upstream components for the low-end iPhone are currently going through validation, and the handset could hit the market in the second half of 2013. This timeframe, of course, jives with previous reports.

It’s worth noting that while DigiTimes has a fairly hit-or-miss reputation in Apple rumors, it nailed the 4th-gen iPad and iPad mini last year. And this particular report is backed by other, more reputable publications. The point is, there’s an awful lot of smoke.

But is there a fire? A lot of people seem to think so — especially given recent talk that Apple has been seeing weaker-than-expected iPhone 5 demand. Industry watchers feel like a low-end iPhone would give the smartphone line an inroad into emerging markets.

Me? I think there’s too much supply chain talk about this device for it not to be real. But will we see it this year? I don’t know. This special see-through design sounds interesting though. Maybe Apple has built/is building something completely different this time.

What do you think?

[image via flickr: jayhauf]

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  • http://twitter.com/oneBurge Burge

    Believe it when I see it.. If its true the price has to be cheaper than the bottom of the line iPhone which is free on contract..

    • 4p0c4lyps3

      Lol, meaning apple will pay you to use the device.

      • SoCoMagNuM

        The carriers pay for the phone, you will pay overtime through the 2 year agreement contract. Apple gets their share regardless.:

      • http://twitter.com/oneBurge Burge

        If there is a cheaper iPhone I think it will be a pay as you go phone not a contract phone.. But the cost has to be cheaper than the bottom of the line phone if your we’re to buy it out right..
        iPhone 4 £319
        iPhone cheapo has to be a lot less and like £200 and maybe limited to 2 OS

  • http://www.facebook.com/alvaradogerry Gerry Alvarado

    I don’t think apple would’ve have crazy changes like a see through design if Jobs was still around. Cook on the other hand is willing to step into unmanned territory. There will always be that probability. I think an option would be nice though. Levels the playing field. I think that consumers enjoyed the colorful iPod touch, why not have that option for the phones as well?

  • Pepeloso

    We Want Steve Job Back, Lol Tim Cook Gonna Destroy Apple Future If All He Cares About Is Market Shares. What He Should Be Doing Is Bringing Apple Products 5 Years Ahead Like Steve Job Did. Then The iPhone Will Sell Even More… But Who Knows The Cheap iPhone Might Be A Good Idea To Bring The Market Share Up But What’s Gonna Happen To The Expensive IPhone If Majority Settles For The Cheap IPhone?

    • luckyarcher

      Have you never been to school, what’s with this capitalization of every word?

      • ExRoot

        <>

        Are you kidding? Your sentence is full of grammatical errors?

      • SoCoMagNuM

        Ditto lol

      • http://www.teqno-logical.com/ Teqno-Logical

        Capitals are more irritating actually :))) IMHO :)

    • http://www.facebook.com/joe.jonsen Joe Jonsen

      ii have been saying this for months..

  • Benny Green

    Cheaper iPhone = re-badging & selling old stock of iPhone 3’s & claiming they’re new

    • SoCoMagNuM

      Thats just a pic of an IPhone 3G/3GS..not actual pic of phone in question

      • Benny Green

        Yeah I realise this, but with the description in the report its exactly how it sounds

  • http://twitter.com/myorangeisstuck wahaha

    Believing apple to release a cheaper iPhone is like believing apple to allow widgets on ios..
    I don’t think apple will ever do such things. Its just not their style

    • http://www.teqno-logical.com/ Teqno-Logical

      Oh, why not? There are much better phones on the market and they cost less than the iPhones, so I guess Apple are afraid that they’ll soon lose their market… So they have to come up with some better idea than releasing expensive iPhones with not that cool specs once a year.

  • seyss

    why didnt you mention Schiller’s dismissal of a cheap iPhone?

  • Daniel

    This becomes disgusting.

  • http://www.facebook.com/shingo.hoshino Shingo Hoshino

    becoming like china made quality nice…..by the way talking about share its down below <500 now

  • http://twitter.com/MCaudebec Maxim∑

    Apple literally made a statement saying that they wont make a cheaper plastic phone, Does idownloadblog even pay attention to the news?

    • http://www.teqno-logical.com/ Teqno-Logical

      True, I’ve also heard that they weren’t going to make anything like that!

      • http://twitter.com/frankiespankme frank

        Apple lies all the time

      • http://www.teqno-logical.com/ Teqno-Logical

        Yeah… that’s why I don’t like them :((((((((

  • http://www.teqno-logical.com/ Teqno-Logical

    Um, wait a sec! Didn’t Apple say there weren’t going to make any cheap iPhones? I thought I read something like that not so long ago!

  • macboy74

    DigiTimes??? That says it all this will not happen. Amazing that even after they said they wouldn’t do it and a little common sense people still think this will happen. Nothing to see here.

  • http://www.facebook.com/joe.jonsen Joe Jonsen

    soooo they will make an iPhone 5C for cheap and it will be the same but will have a plastic case instead…?? hmm i wonder how much money that will save..