Pictures Of A Budget iPhone For The Chinese Market Leaked

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Budget iPhone For The Chinese Market

Jeremy Horwitz, Editor-in-Chief of iLounge, has had a good track record lately for Apple product predictions.

Today he wrote that according to “reliable sources,” he has gotten pictures of what purports to be a prototype of a “budget” iPhone 5 destined for the Chinese market

“Yes, it will be made substantially from plastic,” he writes. “No, it won’t just be a Retina- and Lightning-equipped refresh of the iPhone 3G or 3GS, Apple’s last plastic iPhones, nor will it look just like an all-plastic version of the iPhone 5. This new model is actually a cross between the iPhone 5, fifth-generation iPod touch, and… wait for it… the iPod classic. Yes, really. It will have a 4” screen, like the iPhone 5, a bottom like the latest iPod touch, and a shape that’s most similar to the iPod classic.”

According to Horwitz’s sources, the Chinese iPhone will be just slightly larger than the current iPhone 5, and like the fifth generation iPod touch, the screen will stick up just a bit from its enclosure. No word on the processor inside, but all of the components match up with the current iPhone 5 and fifth gen iPod Touch, including Gorilla Glass for the screen.

Part of the impetus for a lower cost iPhone in the developing world is that not only are incomes substantially lower, but telcos do not subsidize hardware in return for contracts as they do in the U.S. If Apple can make a more affordable phone for the rest of the world it may open up options here for phones that are not tied to specific service providers.

It is unclear what will make this device radically cheaper than the iPhone 5 except economies of scale, but such a phone would sell well just about anywhere, even in the U.S. It will be interesting to see if Apple’s moves in China and other developing markets will lead to a split in its domestic product lines, too. Can Apple have both the high-end and the mass audience through segmenting its products?

Some of Horwitz’s other predictions? A 128 GB iPad 4 (with an LTE model) coming soon, the iPhone 5s (perhaps with a 13 megapixel camera) in June and the iPad 5 and second-gen iPad mini (with IGZO retina screen) in October. All sound more plausible than the rumored “iPhone Math,” which, incidentally seems to have been intended as the iPhone + (as in “plus” not “math”) but lost somehow in translation!

by Anthony Wing Kosner, Contributor to Forbes