Apple’s (AAPL) Low-End iPhone Rumored To Have Plastic Casing: Report

By Jan 15, 2013, 6:58 AM Author's Blog  

Over the past few days, we have seen reports from numerous news outlets regarding the possible launch of an inexpensive iPhone model, which is rumored to be released in late 2013. Now Digitimes has added to the discussion, claiming the low-cost version of the Apple (AAPL) iPhone will feature a cheaper outer structure rather than the glass and aluminum that the iPhone 5 profile is made of.

“Apple’s rumored entry-level iPhone reportedly may adopt plastic for its chassis instead of reinforced glass or unibody metal as in the company’s standard iPhone models, to save cost, according to sources from the upstream supply chain,” the Taiwanese-based news website states in its report.

But rumors of an alternate scenario are also circulating. In this scenario, the publication notes that the entry-level iPhone is said to adopt a chassis mixed with plastic and metal, with the internal metal parts being visible externally through a special design.

Digitimes, which despite its mixed track record, has accurately predicted Apple’s plans in the past, also claims that the iPhone chassis supplier will be based in the US, and that the components for the budget iPhone are already undergoing validation with the final product likely to hit the market in the second half of FY2013.

Everything from the report confirms what The WSJ and other mainstream media outlets have also said about the launch of a more affordable iPhone. The Journal, in particular, also reported that Apple has experimented with plastic casings for its low-cost iPhone model.

Currently the cheapest iPhone is the iPhone 4 model, which is available for $450 without any contract. According to reports, the budget iPhone will reportedly retail for $99 – $149 without a contract.

Apple shares fell $1.25, or 0.25 percent to $500.50 in premarket trading / 5:37AM EST – Nasdaq Real Time Price.

h/t macrumors

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2 Comments

  1. StonehamMel says:

    Interesting possibilities, Interesting for investors, terrifying for competition. A $149 iPhone would destroy competition if it had any capability at all to handle current iPhone apps.

    The smartphone market effectively didn’t exist before the iPhone. A $149 iPhone with a 30% profit margin would take over the global market.

    My skepticism is that a $149 phone would have to be manufactured by techniques vastly more automated than those used to make iPhones. Those highly automated assemblies enabled Taiwan to dominate the motherboard industry. It is possible that Apple has quietly used its enormous cash pile to finance the development of such capacity someplace. That there has been no leaks of such investment suggests it either doesn’t exist or has taken place in a US or Israeli “skunkworks.”. Asian manufacturers would be incapable of keeping secrets like this.

    Absent that manufacturing capability, there is zero chance of a $149 iPhone.

  2. StonehamMel says:

    PS: The cheapest part of an iPhone is the case. You don’t convert a $649 iPhone 5 to any kind of comparable phone just by switching the case from metal-glass to plastic.

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