updated 10:22 am EDT, Mon July 29, 2013
Links manufacturer to plastic-backed device
A China Labor Watch report on labor and safety violations at Pegatron may have also inadvertently confirmed the existence of the low-cost iPhone, possibly known as the iPhone 5C. In the introduction to the report, one quote says that Pegatron's products include the iPhone 4, 4S, and 5, as well as "low-priced plastic iPhones." In one section of a daily chronicle, the report states that "Today's work is to paste protective film on the iPhone's plastic back cover to prevent it from being scratched on assembly lines."
A plastic back is believed to be one of the low-cost phone's defining features, although Apple may also need to scale back other components to make a cheaper device. It's expected to be announced sometime in September, alongside a flagship iPhone 5S.
Pegatron is accused of violating a number of Chinese and international laws, as well as Apple's own code for suppliers. Alleged abuses include poor factory conditions, forcing workers to handle excessive and/or unpaid hours, and polluting local sewers with manufacturing chemicals.