Budget iPhone plastic schell (Tactus 001)

Apple’s rumored less-pricey iPhone is thought to minimize manufacturing costs by abandoning the pricey two-tone aluminum body, replacing it with a less expensive polycarbonate shell akin to the white G3 iMac – or similar to the plastic body of the iPhone 3G/3GS, if you will. Now, rumor-mills, but also big media such as WSJ and Bloomberg, have repeated this particular data point numerous times, but we have never seen any physical evidence supporting the plastic body theory.

That changed Wednesday as case manufacturer Tactus, which recently leaked purported iPad 5 shell, posted an image that allegedly represents the back shell of the budget iPhone. We couldn’t confirm its authenticity at press time so take this one with a pinch of salt, even more so knowing accessory makers often pull such stunts to get free press…

That Tactus published the image in its own blog post (via MacRumors) under the headline ‘Exclusive new budget iPhone leak’ gives us more reasons to believe the company is taking us all for a ride.

Aggressive watermarking isn’t helping with the credibility either.

But why stop there?

Tactus also wants us to believe it somehow knows that the device will launch on October 15, priced at $300. As if that weren’t enough, the post claims the part is just 0.4-0.6 mm thick. You’d think Tactus would be able to precisely measure the thickness of the part they apparently had gotten hold of.

The best bit:

I’ve also heard on the grapevine that the alleged budget iPhone will have an A5 processor like the iPad Mini with a 32nm diecast. It’s also rumoured it will have a 3.5 inch retina screen, much like the 4S, but not as big as the iPhone 5 – a few more pennies saved with that compromise!

And this is the purported iPad 5 mould Tactus published last week. I originally passed on that story because I felt that Tactus was hungry for free publicity.

Tactus iPad 5 cases
The iPad 5 case (left) next to the iPad 4 case (right). The image indicates the next iPad will adopt a smaller and thinner design.

I personally am having lots of issues with the quality – or the lack of it – of the plastic part depicted on Tactus’s photograph.

If the budget iPhone is going to be more affordable and feature a plastic body, that doesn’t necessarily mean it has to feel cheap, no?