Further reports are coming that the next entry-level iPhone could contain be made of plastic for its outer shell, this time from Digitimes:
The rumor in the supply chain is that the inexpensive iPhone chassis supplier will reportedly be a US-based electronic manufacturing service (EMS) provider.
The sources pointed out that the related upstream components for the entry-level iPhone are currently going through validation and the actual product may show up in the market in the second half of 2013.
The possible reason for using plastic again instead of glass or unibody aluminum would be to cut costs, according to sources. The latter also noted a less expensive iPhone would have a “chassis mixed with plastic and metal, with the internal metal parts being able to be seen from outside through special design.” (Editor’s note: Umm…what? An iPhone with a clear, see through back??)
Foxconn did not comment when asked about the rumour, which was expected.
Six days ago, Digitimes similarly reported Apple would release a cheaper iPhone in the latter half of 2013. Later that day, The Wall Street Journal followed with their own story of a cheaper, lower end iPhone that would be made of polycarbonate as a possibility. The next day, Bloomberg jumped into the mix with their own report citing a cheaper iPhone, with Apple allegedly considering a price point of $99-$149, similarly debuting in late 2013, according to sources.
Later, the Shanghai Evening News quoted Apple SVP Phil Schiller in an interview noting cheaper smartphones would not be part of Apple’s future. Reuters ended up pulling their story reporting on the SEN story, citing the original article ended up getting amended. It was revealed Apple had contacted the SEN to revise their story; however, the latter admitted to changing the story on their own accord.
I can’t foresee Apple creating an entry level product made with plastic, as that would be moving backwards instead of forward. Unless the iPhone 3G/3GS style has suddenly become retro and trendy in four short years? Now, if Apple created some sort of new-age plastic that had the ‘feel’, light weight and strength of unibody aluminum? That would be interesting.
Looks like 2013 is going to be the year of the rumoured ‘cheaper’, entry level, emerging smartphone market iPhone. Bring it on.