Nowhereelse.fr shares [Google translation] a pair of photos of what may be the rear shell of Apple’s rumored lower-cost plastic iPhone. While the site acknowledges that the part could simply be a Chinese clone of an iPhone 5 rear shell, certain features such as a round rear microphone hole and rounded rear edges are consistent with previous claims for the lower-cost iPhone, including leaked design drawings from a case maker.
Apple has been said to be planning to release the lower-cost iPhone later this year in an array of colors, with one report claiming that Apple would be using essentially the same colors as found in the company’s line of iPhone 4/4S bumpers, although that report indicated that green appeared to have been excluded from the set. This green rear shell is indeed fairly close in color to the green iPhone bumper.
Update 10:03 PM: Nowhereelse.fr has spotted two more photos showing the same part also in yellow and red.
Back in 2010, photos of a prototype iPhone 4 appeared on Gizmodo nearly two months before the device was officially unveiled by Apple. Gizmodo obtained the device from a person, later identified as Brian Hogan, who was allegedly handed the phone by another patron after it was left on a stool at a Redwood City, California bar by an Apple engineer testing the new iPhone.
G4Games points to a photo posted to Chinese microblogging site Sina Weibo that allegedly shows display assemblies from the iPhone 5S. While better photos of the part surfaced last week and we’ve received a number of other photos of the assemblies, the new photo is notable because the parts appear to have been photographed on a production line.
Two weeks after Apple released the first beta version of iOS 7 following its unveiling at the company’s Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple has just released a second beta for testing. The update is currently available through Apple’s over-the-air updating system on iOS devices, and should be posted soon to the iOS Dev Center.
The beta 2 appears as build 11A4400f, up from the previous 11a4372q.
On Saturday, Walmart will begin offering the iPhone 5 at a $60 discount (from $189 to $129) and the iPhone 4S at a $50 discount (from $89 to $39), reports Mashable. The prices are permanent, available only in-store and require signing a new 2-year contract with Verizon, Sprint, or AT&T.
We asked Walmart if the new pricing is temporary and were told that no, this is in fact the permanent price of the items. The new price is only available in Walmart stores and is not available online.
The price drop is also notable because Apple has historically limited the degree to which retailers can drop prices on its products. Although some retailers such as Walmart routinely discount items by $10, cutting the price by more than 30% (in the case of the iPhone 5) and nearly 70% (in the case of the iPhone 4S) is unprecedented.
While it is not unusual to see seasonal sales at Walmart, it is odd to see a drastic, permanent price cuts on one of Apple’s devices. iPhone pricing, however, has grown increasingly competitive in recent months, which has led to significant price drops at multiple retailers. Best Buy, for example, dropped the iPhone 5 price by $50 in May and recently reintroduced a successful trade-in program to allow iPhone 4/4S users to upgrade to the iPhone 5 at no cost.
It is likely that stores are also aiming to get rid of existing inventory before the introduction of the iPhone 5S, which is expected to be announced in the fall. In recent weeks, news of Apple’s upcoming refreshed iPhone has been picking up, and this morning, photos of the device itself surfaced. The iPhone 5S is expected to come equipped with an improved camera, a dual LED rear flash, and a fingerprint sensor.
Walmart’s discounted iPhone pricing is set to begin this Saturday, on June 22 and will last indefinitely.
Last month, J.P. Morgan analysts made their case for why Apple will position its rumored lower-cost iPhone as a “mid-end” device priced in the range of $350-$400 without subsidies, addressing a relatively sparse segment of the market while still maintaining the ability to offer a quality user experience.
Macotakara now points to a pair of reports from the China Times including claims from Pegatron chairman T.H. Tung supporting that notion. Pegatron has been said to be the primary assembler for the lower-cost iPhone, with Foxconn focused on the iPhone 5S.
Rendering of lower-cost iPhone in colors from iPhone 4 bumpers (Source: Macotakara)
According to the first report [Google translation] from the China Times, Tung addressed the iPhone at a meeting of the company’s shareholders, expressing his displeasure with reports referring to the lower-cost iPhone as “cheap” and noting that the “price is still high”. Tung apparently believes that attaching the “cheap” description to the lower-cost iPhone gives the impression of a low-value feature phone rather than the full-featured smartphone it will actually be.
A second report [Google translation] quotes Tung as saying that Pegatron’s factories remain busy with nonstop production. The company has been reported to be undertaking a significant expansion of its workforce for the second half of this year, presumably to support production of the lower-cost iPhone. China Times indicates that Pegatron is ramping up for shipments of 13-15 million units of the device during the third quarter.
Apple’s lower-cost iPhone is expected to launch around the same time as the iPhone 5S, with September being the most commonly cited timeframe. The lower-cost iPhone is said to be very similar to the iPhone 5/5S but with a slightly thicker plastic shell that will be available in a number of colors.
Following yesterday’s photos of a case said to be based on the expected design for Apple’s lower-cost iPhone, AppleInsider now shares design drawings from a case maker showing expectations for the exact dimensions and profiles of the both the lower-cost iPhone and the iPhone 5S.
Unsurprisingly, the dimensions of the iPhone 5S are nearly identical to those of the iPhone 5, with case makers also apparently expecting the same layout and size of the physical features.