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Possible cheaper iPhone is an iPhone 4 look-a-like, replaces glass with plastic

Posted: , by Daniel P.

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Possible cheaper iPhone is an iPhone 4 look-a-like, replaces glass with plastic
Cuhiep, the Vietnamese guy whose sources leaked pictures of the iPhone 4 in May last year, which turned out to be the real deal, now claims another leak "from a very reliable source", this time regarding the cheaper version of the iPhone, a so-called iPhone 4S. This affordable one might be introduced along with the next premium iPhone, about which we only know to be dual-core and have an 8MP camera with relative certainty.

We've heard about this cheaper version idea being entertained by Apple numerous times so far, but nothing plausible has appeared to back it up. Tim Cook himself said in May that the iPhone won't be "just for the rich", and that Cupertino is coming up with some "clever things" that would allow Apple to compete in the pre-paid market. At the time this coincided with the rumors that Apple is building a cheaper, but not smaller version of the iPhone, with leftover components from the fourth generation of its handset.

Possible cheaper iPhone is an iPhone 4 look-a-like, replaces glass with plastic
Possible cheaper iPhone is an iPhone 4 look-a-like, replaces glass with plastic
Cuhiep's source sent him a picture of something that looks exactly like the white iPhone 4, but which he said feels faster and also much lighter, since the two glass panels have been replaced with plastic ones.

We can't vouch for the validity of these claims, but it is interesting to entertain the logic behind such a design change on Apple's side, even if we leave the business implications of a more affordable iPhone at peace.

The faster performance can be relatively easily explained with the inclusion of the dual-core A5 chipset - since it is Apple's in-house creation, and the R&D phase has been completed for it, the difference in price for Apple to equip the iPhone 4S with the current single core A4, or the dual-core A5, will be only a few dollars, so that is completely believable.

The other two observations, that the front and back panels are now made of plastic and the whole phone feels lighter, we find more dubious, since this will affect the premium feel of the gadget, but if you want to make a cheaper iPhone, you'd no doubt replace the expensive, hard to manufacture glass chassis with a plastic one, thus lowering the production price (and the weight) significantly.

Possible cheaper iPhone is an iPhone 4 look-a-like, replaces glass with plastic
Moreover, the flash reflection from the back of the iPhone in the pictures doesn't look like it is reflecting from polished glass, but rather from somewhat grainier plastic, although that might just be the impression from our tired eyes.

What do you think, does it make sense for Apple to keep the current iPhone 4 design, upgrade it with the A5 chipset to keep it relevant for a year or so hardwarewise, but wrap it in more ordinary chassis materials and sell it cheaper, thus aiming to nab more market share, worried about Android's 500 000 activations a day expansion? More importantly, with rumors for a price range anywhere between $200 and $350 without a contract, will it be priced low enough for emerging markets success?

via Tinhte (translated)

21 Comments
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posted on 28 Jul 2011, 06:57 3

1. biglebronski (Posts: 22; Member since: 18 Mar 2011)


Looks like an iPhone 4 with a matte plastic screen protector for front and back. I don't buy it.

Look closely at the enlarged image of the front, and you can see the outline of the screen protector around the home button and phone speaker.

posted on 28 Jul 2011, 08:39 1

8. nimo (Posts: 72; Member since: 11 Jun 2010)


well spotted i agree, its slightly off centre on the right hand side near the home button.

posted on 28 Jul 2011, 09:20

11. AO (unregistered)


there is a protective cover at the back as well if you look closely

posted on 28 Jul 2011, 14:06

16. wow (unregistered)


...guys...that is called a shadow. Go to the store and look at a current white iPhone. At certain angles you see this...

In other words...there is no screen protector on this phone. I am not saying I think it is 100% real, it could just have the housings swapped with a cheap eBay kit

posted on 28 Jul 2011, 07:21

2. TJ (unregistered)


Looks like is just the time to sell my Iphone 4! If iphone 4s will look exactly like iphone 4 will be more powerful,with 8mp camera and much cheaper so whats the price of iphone 4 is going to be after iphone 4s realeas?!?!

posted on 28 Jul 2011, 07:30 2

3. zhenghua (Posts: 28; Member since: 13 Jun 2011)


apple always make rubbish phone, i got an iphone but i must admit that iphone really suck. sold my iphone already!!

posted on 28 Jul 2011, 07:32 2

4. zhenghua (Posts: 28; Member since: 13 Jun 2011)


iphone 4

posted on 28 Jul 2011, 08:22

6. davecann2 (Posts: 460; Member since: 15 Mar 2011)


The iPhone is built with all top quality materials. So I dont think you are complaining about the build quality. Maybe you dont like the OS?

posted on 28 Jul 2011, 08:00 1

5. oddmanout (Posts: 435; Member since: 22 May 2009)


Not digging the materials. This looks like something you'll find in a big kids meal at McDonald's. The knock offs look more appealing than this. And I know this is supposed to be the cheap version but they sure aren't pulling any punches with this one in the looks department. Why does this look so bad to me? Maybe its just the plastic white reminds me of a cheap lawn chair. I guess you get what you pay for though. I'd honestly rather see a revived 3gs instead of a knock off imitation of whats already outdated tech...

and I know i sound like a troll but thats how disgusted I am with this. Hopefully these materials aren't final.

posted on 28 Jul 2011, 08:24

7. Issak (unregistered)


I don't know if Apple would downgrade their materials so verociously, but if they do this, and its 300 dollars or under, everyone, and I mean EVERYONE will have an iPhone...

posted on 28 Jul 2011, 10:31 1

14. applesauce (unregistered)


No they won't... just the iSheep and those that don't know how to shop around. The iphone is a stale product, and it's gradually dying out, with no pending improvemnts other than processor and screen upgrades to try to keep it relevant. I see iOS being dead and gone by the end of the decade. Look what happened to Blackberry...

posted on 28 Jul 2011, 12:38

15. Hallucinator (Posts: 344; Member since: 24 May 2010)


Your entire post makes you sound ignorant. Dying out...lol

posted on 28 Jul 2011, 08:40

9. nimo (Posts: 72; Member since: 11 Jun 2010)


Apple don't do cheap, they are a premium brand.

posted on 28 Jul 2011, 08:58

10. oddmanout (Posts: 435; Member since: 22 May 2009)


yeah im having a hard time believing this is anything close to a final product.

posted on 28 Jul 2011, 15:24

17. Uzzelien (Posts: 131; Member since: 22 Feb 2011)


Ever heard of the Mac Cube, if not google it and say they don't do cheap. They're just like any other company they know people are going to buy it glass or plastic and it's not going to make it cheaper. SJ reports to his shareholders and his board. They want profits as high as they can be it's just that simple.

posted on 28 Jul 2011, 09:51 1

12. dandirk (unregistered)


wow I would be kinda surprised.

Apple makes a HUGE margin on their devices, most of the reason for this is the perception that they make quality products ( and they do). Part of the demand for the iphone is because of the quality.

If they drop the quality, they could look a cornerstone of their image which is very hard to rebuild.

I don't buy that apple would do this to gain market share. They are the highest earning companies, not because they sell the most but because of their margins and image. They have never cared to be #1 before, they just became that way with the ipad. Why would be sacrifice for market share now?

posted on 28 Jul 2011, 10:12

13. r2212xx (Posts: 41; Member since: 18 Apr 2011)


Sure it's a good way of capturing a good share of market. There are many out there would love to own an iPhone but just don't go for it because it's too expensive. This can be a cheaper alternative (if this product genuinely exists).

posted on 28 Jul 2011, 16:12

18. biscutbob (Posts: 82; Member since: 08 Jul 2011)


People want a free phone and super low cost. a 200 dolllar iphone is not going to help them. iPhones are for the rich and if your not rich you save up so you can look rich. If they want a cheap iphone it had to be way stripped down like sh*tty sh*tty slow phone with IOS then they can really compete with the cheap people.

posted on 30 Jul 2011, 11:45

21. AnotherGuy (unregistered)


I don't know about where you live but every crack-head I see has an $50 iPhone 3GS and you can bet they're not on a post-paid plan, they're on a pre-paid (Pay-As-You-Go) plan. It's common knowledge that all you have to do is pop an AT&T Pay-As-You-Go SIM chip into an iPhone and bang, you look like you're "rich."

I hope that Apple keeps the glass, for that look and feel of quality and puts the dual-core A5 in the iPhone 4S or even calls it an iPhone 5. Do that and I'll think about selling my 3GS and moving up.

It's the old consumer game anyway, new, barely "improved" trinkets to get the natives to part with their wampum.

The other commenter is correct also in that all Apple has going for it is innovation and a great user interface tied to high quality looking and high quality feeling products. You break the "innovation," the "user interface," the "high quality looks," or the "high quality feel" and Apple slips away...

Apple has never been the top seller for long in any market they've made an appearance in, but they've made a great and profitable market niche with doing what they do really well and with high quality and great style.

Apple is a class act, but it's a bit late for them to try and become "a Microsoft." I think anyone "in the know," already knows this and sees this as business as usual with Apple, in any market, whether it's computer, portable music/video player, TV set top player, phone, or pad.

I've been an Apple product owner and user since 1978 and always will be. They're good at what they do - really, really good.

posted on 28 Jul 2011, 23:42

19. young (unregistered)


due to the lawsuit, apple couldn't purchase amoled from samsung. samsung wins!

posted on 30 Jul 2011, 09:32

20. Joe (unregistered)


If this is true, I will sell away my 3GS to buy this.I believe that A5 chip will be using on iphone 5 too. Maybe a better tuned with a higher clock speed. It just the material, which I don't really mind as it already looks good. So why not, better chip, camera (maybe) but just the material

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