Purported photos suface of less expensive iPhone plastic backing

Photos of supposed rear casing to lower-cost iPhone surface

The less expensive iPhone has been rumored for a long time -- a way for Apple to cater to emerging markets and entry-level, off-contract customers -- but so far it's remained little more than a myth. Today, case manufacturer Tactus claims to have an image of the rear casing for just that device.

Aligning with previous rumors, the photo in question shows a white, plastic rear casing that looks like a fusion between an iPod classic and an iPhone 3G/iPhone 3GS rear housing. Tactus is also claiming that the low cost iPhone will come in 5 colors - black, white, red, yellow, and blue. As far as the display is concerned, Tactus is saying it will stick with a 3.5" retina display as opposed to rumors of a 4" display similar to the iPhone 5. Likewise, a 5mp camera and an A5 processor are included in their rumors.

While iMore hasn't heard anything along those lines, all of that makes sense to keep costs down and serve just exactly the type of market a lower-cost iPhone is meant to serve.

As far as whether or not this photo is legitimate, it's impossible to say at this point. Supply-chain sources leak, and it's possible case manufacturers have contacts at device manufacturers, or it's possible they just had the resources to mock up something based on what they heard, or based on extant rumors.

So file this under noise for now, but interesting noise. And in the meantime, would you buy a lower cost iPhone if it looked something like this?

Source: Tactus via MacRumors

Allyson Kazmucha

Help and how to editor for iMore. I can take apart an iPhone in less than 6 minutes. I also like coffee and Harry Potter more than anyone really should.

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Purported photos suface of less expensive iPhone plastic backing

26 Comments

I always liked the design of the 3G/3GS and would be interested if they did something like this for the iPhone 6( with better materials of course)

its hard for me to see the point in buying this in the US . most people already will have better specs on there current iphone . i guess more for mom and pop or budget con people who don't want contracts. i would rather have the best specs since i don't buy phones every year.

I am sure this has more to do with their expansion in emerging markets. A new iPhone is not terribly expensive in the States, and under contract you have even better options. But out side of the US, markets where Apple still has room to grow, a new iPhone 5 can be considerably expensive, and people with less disposable income tend to gravitate to cheaper Android devices, or even now some Windows Phone devices. Apple may want to step into that market as well.

It would either make sense for countries that don't have 2 year verizon contracts to subsidize expensive phones.. Or for carriers like crickett that also sell phones only at full price.

If this comes true where you have two iPhone coming out with two different screen sizes, two different internals. Does that mean even more fragmentation on the iOS front? Being that it will target lesser markets will it get the same timely updates as the main iPhone or will carriers have more control over it?

It can't be more fragmented since it sports the same internals and screen sizes that is available today

In which case I'd be pretty upset if the hundreds of dollar price difference is only caused by a chipped aluminum case.

Actually, fragmentation might not be all that...

There is a Jailbreak app called RetinaPad that makes iPhone apps enlarge to a normal looking app on the iPad/iPad Mini. I use it on my iPad Mini and there's hardly a difference. Only the carrier/clock/battery bar is a very slight chopped. Hardly noticeable.

Perhaps they could implement something like that to adjust the size ever so slightly to fit into a 4.5" or 5" screens.

I use my iPad for just about everything, and only own a phone for making calls, sending texts, and streaming music in my car (via bluetooth). I currently own a bargain Android phone to do such tasks, but I can't say that I am very impressed with it's performance (sluggish scrolling and likes to shut down without notice... more than once a day). So, in my world, I would love a stable Apple device that performs basic tasks, can run some of the universal apps on my iPad, and syncs with my iCloud data. I would buy one in a heartbeat for around $200-$250 (unlocked and off-contract). If it's any more than that, though, I would not bother.

Looks like the love child of an iPhone 3GS and an 4S., which is not a bad thing. I always prefered the styling (and durability) of the 3GS but liked the flat back of the 4. It looks like it would be more comfortable to hold than the iPhone 4/5 as well. Now we have the best of both worlds

From the dimensions of this device I highly doubt it will be a 3.5" screen, plus it would be counter productive for apple to do so, it would introduce android like fragmentation. It's be a horrible design choice.

If that will be the desing, i will feel like we are going backwards, i mean from iphone 5 to iphone 3g? I don't think that's a nice idea and also i want to see what does theymean by cheap, what does the normal iphone and the cheap iphone will have, is only the material is made of or is it the functiona or both?

This would def interest me......I currently have an iPhone 5 so I am set for awhile; however, I do not want to sign another contract. So a new iPhone at $650-850 is not happening. I would consider this as an alternative. As far as people complaining about specs, Apple has proven for years that a superior interface and ecosystem trumps quad-core phones, a better user experience wins.

Look at it this way.......(whether you like Android or not)......right now you can get top of the line hardware for Android in an unlocked Nexus 4 for $349. Apple's lowest setting is the iPhone 4 unlocked for $449(I believe). In a lot of the world subsidies do not exist so for Apple to be able to sell an off contract phone for $300-350 would be huge. They may not care about selling to the low end market now; but any good business can't just ignore an entire segment of the market forever.

By looking at the device , it will not be 3.5" screen. It will be 4.5" screen. One more thing , they will be using the same screen as 4" screen resolution means new 4.5" screen with 960X640 or 1136X640 pixel resolution. That way, no need to rewrite the apps for this resolution.
Price is around $399
iphone 4 - $349
iphone 4s - $449
iphone 5 - $549
iphone 5s - $649
new iphone 4.5 display. - $399

it looks good but more like a cover/case that i saw for the iPod Touch 4 the other day here in a local shop in Islamabad. Just saying...

I think it's a fake! Apple is never going to reduce it's quality! Apple has a floor and they're not going to go beyond it with less quality/cheaper phones. And I'll like to complete the comment of Vijender Marthi, as he said:

iphone 4 - $349
iphone 4s - $449
iphone 5 - $549
iphone 5s - $649

I don't see why a cheaper phone has to be released? An iPhone 4 is already a cheaper solution for those who can not access to newer models.

After the number of Android tables and mobiles being released, what the consumer actually now wants is the latest in the least possible price range.

If Apple is following the above plan, we need to keep in mind that for $349 that iPhone 4 offers, a phone running Android offers over double or triple the features (camera, processor, screen size).
So I think Apple needs to re-think on the strategy. Yes, if they are to mainly target the high segment market, there is no point in releasing a cheaper iPhone in the first place. The out-dated iPhone 4 sales will keep yielding them profits anyway. But on the other hand, if they are to target the overall consumer market (which they proudly point our in the keynotes), they must come up with something cheap and offer features at-least close to those of the phones in the price segment that they choose.

Just what I feel though...

Ok, I agree with you in certain points, but consider that a lot of people are still buying older iphones. Some weeks ago I was in the 5th Avenue Apple Store and a guy bought two iPhone 4S and one iPhone 5.

The only reason to do that, it's because you've the same good quality and almost the same functionality as an iPhone 5 for less price. May happen the same with an iPhone 4.

Lucky8991, I agree on your point too. I do have friends who would consider buying it. It's the interface that Apple has which makes it have a unique market. I would call it fan-specific rather. Notably, it's people who have used the iOS interface going in for the iPhone. Looking at this, it seems like Apple is putting themselves into a blackberry situation where an old blackberry user is reluctant to move to anything else.

I'm an Apple fan and use their products extensively though. I try discussing, thinking positive about them but I just feel they are slowly slipping away. They need something revolutionary like the time they introduced the iPhone and iPad to the consumer.

You feel the iWatch could be a good time to introduce into the market?

For the people/areas this would target (if real) $349 is not cheap. This is for people for whom $99 or whatever is a stretch, but they'll do it to have an iPhone.