Budget iPhone vs iPhone 5 (yellow, ASCII 001)

The Wall Street Journal yesterday shared a report by New York-based China Labor Watch which had counted 86 labor rights violations in three manufacturing facilities operated by Pegatron, Apple’s contract manufacturer which assembles older iPhone 4 and 4S models.

It hasn’t escaped the attention of eagle-eyed bloggers that the working conditions report also mentions an alleged less-pricey iPhone through the mouth of one of the interviewed workers tasked with assembling Apple’s rumored device at Pegatron’s Shanghai plant.

As you know, the rumor-mill, pundits and big media alike are widely expecting the budget iPhone to feature a less-pricey polycarbonate body…

Page 27 of the report includes this statement:

Today’s work is to paste protective film on the iPhone’s plastic back cover to prevent it from being scratched on assembly lines.

The upcoming device “has not yet been put into mass production so quantity is not as important,” the report quotes this individual as saying. As if that weren’t enough, the worker revealed the plastic iPhone will “soon be released on the market by Apple”.

Apple currently does not have an iPhone with a plastic back cover in its lineup.

Budget iPhone opportunity in China
Apple’s budget iPhone opportunity in China, via Benedict Evans

A backgrounder on Pegatron included in the report states the company’s assembled products “include iPhone 4, iPhone 4s, iPhone 5 and low-priced plastic iPhones”.

It is rare for an Apple supplier to even semi-officially confirm an unreleased product.

Pegatron should know better as Apple in the past axed suppliers who couldn’t refrain from commenting on upcoming gadgets. It’s even more surprising in light of Tim Cook’s vow to double-down on secrecy to prevent leaks like this.

Pegatron Chairman TH Tung last month kinda confirmed the rumored device by saying its price will be “fairly high.” Previously, analyst reports called for a mid-tier iPhone.


According to the Wall Street Journal, Apple has commissioned Pegatron to assemble the budget iPhone variant as it moves away from Foxconn. Pegatron may have also grabbed the majority of iPad orders for the next three years and was seen ramping up hiring for budget iPhone manufacture in May.

If a purported retail packaging (above) is an indication, Apple may be readying a product called the ‘iPhone 5C’ (does the ‘C’ stand for ‘color’?).

For what it’s worth, most checks point to both the budget iPhone and the iPhone 5S upgrade ostensibly coming in a range of colors.

  • Mr. E

    I never thought Apple would make a new plastic phone. But the rumors are undeniable now.

    • MarcPhilippeB

      The iPhone 3G/3GS was a plastic phone as well, and for many people that was the best iPhone ever built.

      • Dani Hayes

        I still love the feel of the iPhones 4-5.

      • Dontwannaknow

        3GS yes, but 3G not so sure.

      • Dani Hayes

        He meant build wise. Which they are the same.

      • Dontwannaknow

        Yeah but he said for some people, it was the best iPhone ever built. For me, only 3GS. Anyway, those are all good. Just personal taste only.

      • kashdoller

        Are you dense? They are built exactly the same.

      • Dontwannaknow

        Hey man! You better use more polite word. Don’t be so rude. You are no better then me. So shut the f**k up!

      • Mr. E

        That’s true but I never thought they would make a new phone with plastic

      • dedegarrido

        they will make both, plastic and premium version which will be alluminium

      • kashdoller

        everything is plastic. Soon the entire Earth will be plastic by the year 2150. From space it will look so shiny.

      • batongxue

        Well I guess times has changed and plastic has been ditched.

      • n0ahcruz3

        I dont disagree, and the worst is iphone 5(black) lol

  • Dontwannaknow

    Hey iDownloadblog, iOS 7 beta 4 is up on developer portal but link is not active yet, according to MacRumors Forum.

  • Michael Hulet

    If the C were to stand for Color, then why is the packaging white with black writing? You would think there would be some kind of color.. Even the 5th Generation iPod touch’s packaging has fonts in the color corresponding to the device it’s encasing

    • Rounak

      I personally think dat C stands for cheap.
      As it is apple’s low cost iPhone.

    • 4p0c4lyps3

      C = ‘classic’

  • Cesar D

    I don’t now why i hear people saying they hate the new iPhone.

    The first time i saw this, i said: “Ohh! Wow! Awesome!”
    But when i entered the post and see people say they just dislike it, i started to convince me that the platic iPhone is ugly.

    But the truth behind of all of those comments is “Awesome”

    Good move Apple, that iPhone is just Amazing.

    • kashdoller

      What in tarnation are you talking about woman? The article indicates apple is selling us a cheapo iphone variant. What exactly is awesome about it?

  • Liam Mulcahy

    c could stand for cheap

    • Gorgonphone

      or crap

      • Misti curia

        Or cookiemonster

      • Liam Mulcahy


      • kashdoller

        It was just leaked by my apple friend that it stands for cock.

  • ProfessorX1®

    I will never buy the iPhone 5C. It looks too childish and probably will feel like a toy. iPhone 5S or bust.

    • Liam Mulcahy

      So you think that c stands for cheap

      • kashdoller

        Yeah man, crap. Yep. You know I think R in the professors name stands for registered trademark. However my sources tell me he isn’t registered. Weird.

      • ProfessorX1®

        What does it matter to you?

  • euthenia

    just doesn’t make sense, why the need for budget iphone? won’t iphone 4 be as budget? what’s it going to be? a plastic shell with iphone 3gs/4 spec or simply a phone made for china market?

    • kashdoller

      the answer to all your questions and concerns can all be explained by understanding this one simple concept: follow the money.

  • Looking at iPhone’s history, the 3G and 3GS were my least favorites because of their plastic backs. Much prefer the metal/glass texture of the original, 4, 4S, and 5.

  • GuyBey0ndC00L

    It might be a redesign iPhone 4/4S has far a power goes. With a iPhone 5 screen size, resolution & LTE. Makes sense in someways.