Budget iPhone photos leak?

We've been hearing about the iPhone nano, aka the budget iPhone, for a while now and Vietnamese set Tinhte might finally have scored a prototype.

3 pictures below are photographs handset is said to be the next version of iPhone 4 from a very reliable source. Really hard to convince you to believe this because it is exactly like the iPhone 4 white appearance. Some other information that you want to transfer to you is that this machine seems to run faster than the iPhone 4, lighter weight and two glass front and back seem to have been replaced by two plastic sheets, type of sensation and cry other than the iPhone 4. According to information leakage, predictable from the English website, the more likely Apple will introduce the iPhone 4s (cheap version) and the iPhone 5 next month. And it looks like the iPhone that you see below is the iPhone 4s.

That Apple was working on a cheaper iPhone for new entrants and emerging markets has always been assumed -- because it makes sense -- but how exactly they'd go about doing it was and is the big question. Just like the MacBook Air and iPad are to the netbook, Apple has a way of filling holes in the product line-up in unpredictable but often high effective ways.

Instead of making an iPhone physically smaller, or using iPhone 3GS parts, if these pictures prove to be genuine, and this prototype hasn't already been abandoned, the idea of plastic instead of glass and possibly other lower-end components could very easily make for a cheaper iPhone that's still binary compatible with the existing App Store apps and perhaps even current accessories (and Jailbreaks?).

But then would iPhone 5 have to look different so fashionistas don't worry about it being mistaken for the cheap phone?

[Tinhte via MacRumors]

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, Vector, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

Budget iPhone photos leak?

21 Comments

Depends if they want to screw around with the prepaid/emerging market. This fits Sprint in the US with them increasing prepaids while losing contracts.
The big risk though is making a subpar product. I'm not sure Apple wants to go down that road where they're considered cheap or low end.
I would agree with you. Stick with the winning formula they've been using. Expand carriers. I'd rather get the kiddo an ipod touch 3G as her "phone" later if that is really happening. She'd have messaging, video/voip calling, basically what she would need. Easier to replace. And at 25 a month possibly? That's a winner.

Sorry Rene, it makes no sense for Apple to produce a new budget iPhone since they already have one, its called iPhone 3GS. You also know that Apple will never produce an iPhone with a plastic screen.
This rumor is just silly, there must be something more interesting happening on the Apple world.

wow didnt realize that was plastic ... Looks decent. The macrumors site says that its probably a matte screen protector but i dont think thats true because the breaks in the antenna dont show into the glass as the plastic prototype does.

"Update: Some have suggested that the device is simply a regular jailbroken iPhone 4 with either matte protection films on the front and back or an early conversion kit utilizing plastic parts to turn black iPhone 4 units into white ones. While either of these explanations may be true, the original poster seems to believe that the device is genuine, and his track record of having obtained access to an iPhone 4 prototype ahead of the device's introduction as well as other prototype iOS devices adds weight to his claims. "
-from the original article (MacRumors)

"Apple has a way of filling holes in the product line-up in unpredictable but often high effective ways."
Nah, they're pretty predictable. My prediction would be they'll do simlar to last year. Release a cheaper iPhone 4 with lower memory, maybe a plastic back, and possible downgrade to the iTouch screen.

The whole point of an iPhone "Nano" is that it is principally intended to target the global "Prepaid/Pay-as-you-Go/No Contract" market which is becoming almost larger than the standard contract market.
In this light, Apple is looking to introduce a lower cost iPhone variant that could be priced "unlocked" in the $300 or lower range compared to the current $649 to $749 range for the iPhone 4 Unlocked.