Rumored entry level iPhone rumored to have a plastic chassis

Rumored entry level iPhone to revert to a plastic back instead of high quality glass and metalThe rumor that Apple is working on releasing a budget entry level iPhone for emerging markets just won’t go away. This morning, in a report by hit and miss rumor site Digitimes, it is claimed that the low end design may adopt plastic instead of the high quality materials used in its usual model. Not a great surprise if the low end iPhone is to become a reality as Apple would have to save some money on its make up somewhere along the line.

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. However, Foxconn Electronics (Hon Hai Precision Industry) declined to comment on its clients or orders when asked about the report.

In addition to the component rumors, Digitimes is also hearing that the actual low end iPhone chassis will be manufactured by a US-based electronic manufacturing service provider and that it will be made up from metal and plastic and may even have a see through body showing off the internal components from the outside. The rumors all stem from the supposed Apple component supply chain and from our experience should be taken with a gargantuan sized grain of salt; the rumors appear to be getting more crazy by the day. Having said that, the WSJ, Bloomberg and others are all saying that the budget low end iPhone is happening, we will have to wait and see.

Source: Digitimes

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UK editor at iMore, mobile technology lover and air conditioning design engineer.

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Reader comments

Rumored entry level iPhone rumored to have a plastic chassis


Really?!?! I guess you've never seen the first MacBook. Plastic cracked just from normal use. They did eventually go to the aluminum casing though.

These rumors don't make any sense to me. Why would they make an "entry" level iPhone when they are still selling old models (4 and 4s). Who would buy a plastic iPhone when you could just get a 4S?

My point exactly, which has absolutely nothing to do with previous Apple products, which are not the iPhone. Apple isn't going to make a cheap Plastic iPhone to lure in China Mobile (Because let's be honest, THAT is who Apple is interested in as far as "emerging markets" are concerned. Apple leaves the "cheap plastic" phones to Android vendors. There's no way to make a "premium cheap plastic phone". Apple won't do it.

I guess you never handled a Lumia 920. "Cheap plastic" is a derogatory term used by Apple fans since Apple lauched the iPhone 4. The MacBook, the iMac and the iPhone had plastic bodies in more than one incarnation once and no one called them "cheap" in those days.

Anyway, the material used today is Polycarbonate, and it is a far better material than the "cheap aluminum" Apple has been feeding us. Polycarbonate is much more resistant to shock, bending and scratch, making it much more suitable to portable devices than aluminum. Search for images of bent iPhone 5s and you will know what I mean.

Exactly. I enjoyed seeing everyone suddenly start calling everything cheap plastic after paying 2 grand for their aluminum frames with $500 computers inside.

I'm sure Tim cook will be checking with you before making the decision to create a phone for emerging markets in order to make sure they continue living up to the image you've built up for them. Just keep in mind, if they DO go haead and make a "cheap plastic" phone regardless, it won't make your iPhone 5 any less aluminum. They will also call it something that sounds better than "plastic" so you won't fee so bad about apple using it to create a phone for other countries. Molded fusion carbon fiber or something.

they are doing entry level for no contract plans. Yes, you can purchase a "free" iphone 4 today, but with a two year agreement you're paying the full price of that phone, roughly around 4 or 500 dollars. But they're trying to make a phone that without subsides can cost a customer maybe 100-200 dollars with no subsides or long term contracts. That's pretty doable. That's what they mean by "entry level phone"

ummm...don't forget the iphone 3G and 3GS had a black and white plastic backing to it. And that design was on the market up till about 4 months ago when the "free" phone became the i4.

I really don't think there is anything wrong with that. Just because it's plastic does not mean it is going to be cheap. More options are always better!!

It's not gonna happen. They have been saying this for six years when the iPhone came out. The only entry level iPhone that Apple will sell is the past model.

That's only entry level for people who's service provider subsidizes the cost when they sign a 2 year contract. They still aren't "cheap" especially for people in emerging markets, who this phone is supposedly aimed at. Saying the iPhone 4 is free on Verizon is meaningless to anyone in china.

FYI iMore - The iMore Store Product Description video says it has a "metallic keyboard" in the audio, which should be "metallic kickstand".

if they make a plastic case how much do you think the price would drop to? remember they are selling the hardware not the cover so i'm pretty sure it will not drop too much. I also think it will be back to old size screen they do not want to take sales from the 5, my opinion....

Just when you thought Apple was all about black / white / aluminum, BOOM. Translucent Bondi blue plastic again, to spark yet another wave of translucent colorful plastic consumer electronics.

We'll see how long it takes for Samsung to copy that.

Why apple has to go back to plastic? To me plastic is cheep and I though apple is a high quality company.

Cheap plastic? I would take practical plastic over apples impractical glass designs any day. When I had my Nokia 6120, you could throw it on concrete and it would barely get scratched. How many iPhone 4 users can say that? iPhone is a great phone but the design is not practical. Apple is more obsessed with looks than practicality

I wouldn't mind a 3GS feel for the budget iPhone. Moreover plastic offers far better reception than aluminum.