Apple has recently stayed away from using any sort of plastic casings for its iPhones and instead has opted for aluminum or glass. We have known since January that a cheaper version of the iPhone could be coming out, and we could also see the return of plastic casings along with it.
A video has appeared on the YouTube tech review channel DetroitBORG that shows a new plastic casing for the first time, along with comparisons to current and previous generation iPhones.
Outside of just showing off the plastic back that may end up on a cheaper iPhone, the video also showed that the casing includes a lens, flash, Apple and iPhone logo, and the Lightning connector. The iPhone logo was interesting, though, as it seemed to be thinner than the one currently on the iPhone 5.
Following the Market
In every possible way it seems as though Apple is trying to conform to market trends, which is something it has rarely done. The changes seen in the purported budget iPhone go far beyond cost or the resurrection of plastic shells.
For the first time, the colors used for the iPod Nano could also be introduced to the iPhone. Blue, red, yellow and even gold shells have appeared in leaked photos for the past few months. Until now, Apple has always focused on its black or white iPhones, but colorful ones could allow the company to attain more market share.
Covering the Spread
Despite iPhone sales increasing 20 percent over the last quarter, Apple still seems to believe that "fitting in" will be the best option in the long run.
Apple almost certainly has to release a new, cheaper iPhone simply to hold onto some of its market share. Since the iPhone 3GS came out, Apple has always been able to have at least three iPhones on the market, allowing it to control the low-tier section with previous-generation models of the iPhone.
Now that Apple is trying to completely phase out its old 30-pin connector, it will require one new model on the market outside of the iPhone 5 and 5S. Having any sort of fragmentation with something like a data port is dangerous for Apple and was one of the original concerns regarding the Lightning connector.
At the same time that the number of iPhones sold were increasing, Apple actually lost a large amount of market share in the overall smartphone industry, leaving the company with just a 17 percent share. There are dozens of new smartphones coming out every few months, leaving the market crowded. Each one of those phones appears to be taking some market share away from the iPhone, making both the iPhone 5S and the cheap iPhone important for the company's future.
Price is one of the most important factors in emerging markets such as China and India. No matter how low the current iPhone 5 price goes, it simply cannot compete with cheap Android devices.
This has led many analysts to believe that a new cheap iPhone will cost between $200 and $300 (unsubsidized) so that Apple can compete directly against Android competitors inside those markets.