Packages with the branding "iPhone 5c" have shown up in China, which indicate nothing more than someone, potentially Apple, potentially a knock-off company, has manufactured some boxes that read "iPhone 5c" on them. That would be C as in "Color", and likely refer to the rumored less expensive iPhone. All we know right now, however, is that someone posted it on the WeiPhone forums. But here's the thing:
Apple can finalizes product names at the last minute. Engineers, designers, etc. can all happily work off of code names. So while it's theoretically possible Apple marketing has locked down names for their September products in order to start getting packaging and collateral made, it's also possible that stuff is pretty quickly generated these days and there's no reason to lock anything down two months ahead of time.
The packaging, as presented, isn't the typical cardboard box used for the iPhone since it's launch in 2007, but something that appears closer akin to the plastic ones used for the iPod touch. That could make sense for a less expensive product. However, the iPad mini still came in a box, and the iPod touch's plastic packaging is clear (with a white paper insert), not white plastic, and the design appears far more refined than what's pictured above. Here's the packaging for the last three iPhone models and the current iPod touch:
As to the name itself, it doesn't follow any modern Apple branding conventions I can recall, where "mini", "nano", and other secondary words have been the typical modifiers. Then again, neither did iPhone 3GS or iPhone 4S, and neither would iPhone 5s. Here's how the lettering on the box, rotated in Photoshop, looks when compared to the current type used for existing iPhone lines on Apple.com:
So take a look at the packaging and let me know what you think of the iPhone 5c-as-in-Color theory or whether it's dodgy enough you'll be calling less scoop and more shenanigans? And if any one sees an iPhone 5X-as-in-eXtra-large peeking out anywhere, flag that bad boy too!
Source: WeiPhone forums
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Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.