updated 09:39 am EST, Tue January 15, 2013
One rumor claims possibility of see-through design
Apple's alleged low-cost iPhone could use plastic for its chassis instead of metal or glass, as with the most recent iPhone models, say supply chain sources for DigiTimes. A material switch is one of the first specific cost-saving measures to be suggested for the device. The iPhone 3G and 3GS used plastic backs, but Apple migrated to glass for the iPhone 4, and metal for the iPhone 5.
DigiTimes mentions two other rumors, including one that the maker of the cheaper iPhone's chassis will be a US-based manufacturer. Apple currently relies on Asian companies for virtually all of its supply and assembly needs. The other rumor suggests that the new phone may use a mixed plastic-and-metal chassis, allowing people to see the phone's internal metal parts. Such a design would be a break from Apple's normal aesthetics, however.
Either way, sources say that components for the low-cost model are currently undergoing validation. A launch is only expected sometime in the second half of 2013.