iphone_green_plastic

A pair of photos have surfaced this morning, allegedly showing the plastic shell of Apple’s rumored budget iPhone. The Cupertino company has long been said to be working on a lower-cost handset to help it make inroads into emerging markets like China and India.

The two images come from Nowhereelse.fr, who has shared accurate photos of leaked Apple components in the past. And while the site acknowledges that it’s possible the part could simply belong to a Chinese clone, it does match up with several previous reports…

Budget iPhone (Martin Hajek 001)concept by Martin Hajek

In fact, a number of the shell’s features are consistent with past claims surrounding the low-end iPhone, including its round rear microphone hole and its rounded edges. It’s also an odd green color, which matches up with reports that it’ll come in an array of new colors.

Back in January, iLounge’s Jeremy Horwitz cited ‘reliable sources’ in a detailed report of the handset. He claimed that it would be “substantially made from plastic,” with metal accents, and look like a cross between the iPhone 5, the fifth-gen iPod touch, and the iPod classic.

“Apple’s budget housing looks closest to the iPod classic in shape, though not in materials. Unlike the plastic iPhone 3G/3GS, which featured soft curves on all sides, the budget iPhone’s curves start and end at flat surfaces, so each side and the back are flat. This seems like a trivial change, until you realize that it allows Apple to use flat rather than curve-matched parts: the right side has a flat, centered SIM card tray just like the iPhone 5’s, while all of the buttons and ports are on flat rather than curved surfaces. A flat-backed iPhone won’t rock on a flat surface when it vibrates, either.”

Horwitz has accurately predicted details of Apple products ahead of their announcements in the past, and a number of credible news outlets, including Reuters and Bloomberg, have since corroborated the report with their own independent sources. So it does hold some weight.

As far as the device’s price tag, we keep hearing that it’s going to fall somewhere in the $300 price range, and it won’t be as low-cost as other low-end smartphones. Two weeks ago, Pegatron’s CEO T.H. Tung reiterated that fact, saying he wouldn’t describe the device as ‘cheap.’

When will we see the handset? According to supply chain chatter, the phone is said to be going into mass production next month, ahead of a fall launch. The consensus seems to be that if there is a budget iPhone, it’ll land in September alongside the 5S and other device refreshes.

What do you make of all of this?

Update: as noted by MacRumors, two more images of alleged budget iPhone shells have surfaced. This time, there’s red and yellow shells in addition to green.

iphone_plastic_yellow_red_green_1

iphone_plastic_yellow_red_green_2