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

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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)

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