Hires closeups indicate plastic iPhone may borrow logic board design from iPhone 5

Budget iPhone vs iPhone 5 (yellow, ASCII 004)

The sheer amount of would-be budget iPhone shells and supposed parts coming out from Asia has gotten out of hand.

Case in point: a small electronics company Techdy just recently posted several photographs that purportedly picture the chassis of Apple’s long rumored less-pricey iPhone.

These shots made rounds on the web until someone exposed them for what they are: a publicity stunt. Indeed, all of a sudden Techdy started selling an Android handset that looks like Apple’s rumored budget iPhone. This is precisely why iDB passes on dozens of tips we receive on a daily basis and instead selectively tells you about the most interesting “leaks”.

Today’s nugget fits that description perfectly. Not only does a new set of photos reveal what appears to be some sort of an iPhone shell next to the iPhone 5, they do so in intricate detail unlike most prior leaks. We have high-resolution closeups just after the break…

The shots were originally shared by the Japanese magazine Weekly ASCII and re-posted by Macotakara. On the top image, notice the mic and speaker grills have fewer holes.

The yellow budget iPhone part also has the SIM tray slot on the opposite side (left) versus the iPhone 5. And here’s a side-by-side comparison of the devices’ back.

Budget iPhone vs iPhone 5 (yellow, ASCII 001)

For all we know, this could be a part belonging to the upcoming iPhone 5S, which we’re pretty certain will come in a bunch of colors, no?

Budget iPhone vs iPhone 5 (yellow, ASCII 002)

Not so fast.

If that were an iPhone 5S backplate, the volume/silent buttons on the side should have been rounded unless Apple tweaked that design a bit, which in turn would run counter to a bunch of iPhone 5S components leaked in the past few weeks.

And how do you explain this?

Budget iPhone vs iPhone 5 (yellow, ASCII 003)

For starters, the layout of the holes on the plastic rear shell matches up with the internal layout of the iPhone 5S motherboard. Again, this could just as easily represent an iPhone 5S backplate, but there’s just one tiny problem – it’s plastic.

We see no reason whatsoever for Apple to drop the current two-tone aluminum design and switch to a cheaper looking polycarbonate shell for the iPhone 5S. the only logical conclusion (assuming these shots are legit) is that the budget iPhone shares a logic board design with the current iPhone 5.

And that’s a prudent engineering decision in my book because it simplifies manufacturing and helps keep costs down. Of course, the logic board layout doesn’t tell us anything about the actual innards.

According to the widely accepted notion, the budget iPhone will not incorporate the latest chips or the cutting-edge camera module found in Apple’s current-generation handset.

Another theory: this could be an unauthorized replacement part.