updated 09:30 am EDT, Thu July 28, 2011
iPhone 4 may switch from glass back to plastic
A purported sighting of a cheaper iPhone 4 has suggested that Apple might take a new strategy of upgrading the older phone even as it introduces a genuinely new model. Well-known Vietnamese leakers Tinhte have shown a design they say has replaced the glass front and back with plastic, presumably to lower the price. Simultaneously, though, it's believed to be faster than the current model, suggesting a possible speed upgrade, though not necessarily the A5.
Apart from the material change, the device is outwardly identical to the model it might replace. Various clues exist that it's a real prototype, regardless of its production plans, including XXXXX placeholders on the regulatory IDs and what looks to be a developer package download.
Most rumors still point to at least one new iPhone in September. Since 2009, Apple has made a point of selling an older iPhone as a budget model, but it has usually left the design unchanged other than cutting storage. The new design, if representative, would be the first time Apple more visibly changed components.
Both rumors and Apple's own allusions have pointed to a cheaper iPhone being more of a priority than usual this year. Apple is known to be keen to head off competition from a wave of cheaper Android phones from firms like Huawei and ZTE and has also seen rapid growth in China, up 600 percent in one year, that could be served by a lower-end iPhone than usual.