Rumours of a cheaper, low-cost iPhone designed for China and emerging markets have been circulating the blogosphere for a while now, with the majority of sources claiming Apple will likely use plastic like it did with the iPhone 3S to save money. This, however, has changed today, and Jeremy Horwitz has the details.
From what the Editor-in-Chief of iLounge has seen, and what his reliably sources have told him, the cheaper iPhone will be substantially made from plastic. But don’t expect it to look like the good old plastic iPhone 3GS, and not a plastic iPhone 5 with Retina Display and Lightning connector, either.
The cheaper iPhone is actually a cross between the iPhone 5, fifth generation iPod Touch and the iPod classic. Yes, it will indeed sport a 4-inch screen, with the bottom resembling the latest iPod touch, while its shape will be similar with the iPod classic, Horwitz says.
From the front, the new iPhone looks almost identical to the iPhone 5—the same exact shape, with the same sensor, camera, and button arrangement. The 1136 x 640 screen isn’t a surprise, but will be a nice step up in specs for the lowest-cost iPhone. Rather than making the display flush with the enclosure, as it was in the plastic iPhone 3G/3GS, the front glass sticks out a little, just as it does with the iPhone 5 and iPod touch. Despite the shift to plastic for the rest of the enclosure, our sources believe that Apple will continue to use Gorilla Glass for this model’s screen.
Differences become more obvious when the new iPhone is turned on the side. The circular volume buttons of the iPhone 4, 4S, and 5 will shift to elongated, pill-shaped designs closer to the iPod touch and iPhone 3G/3GS.
The most substantial change will likely be the curves, as a result of switching to plastic. Also, it will likely be 0.5 mm taller and 0.5 mm wider, as well as nearly one millimeter thicker.
The cheaper iPhone resembles the iPod classic’s shape, but not the materials. The budget iPhone’s curves start and end at flat surfaces, so each side and the back are flat, allowing Apple to use flat instead of curve-matched parts: the right side sports a flat, centered SIM card tray, and all the buttons are on flat surfaces rather than curved ones.
As we mentioned above, the bottom is a hybrid of the latest generation iPhone and fifth generation iPod Touch, with no significant change in the position of the Lightning port, bottom microphone or speaker.
In other words, the cheaper iPhone, now a certainty, will be made from plastic will combine a good combination of iPhone 5, iPod classic, and fifth generation iPod Touch design features, conceived specially to achieve the expected goal: attracting new buyers from the emerging markets.