Low-Cost iPhone 'confirmed' during investigation

It seems like we can't go a few hours without seeing another alleged photograph of a plastic iPhone, or report that one exists, however today's revelation may be the most solid one yet. During an investigation into Apple's supplier, Pegatron, an undercover investigator has detailed factory workings, including the existence of a plastic cased iPhone.

In a diary entry by one of the investigators from the non-profit organisation China Labour Watch part of the manufacturing process is described as follows:

Today’s work is to paste protective film on the iPhone’s plastic back cover to prevent it from being scratched on assembly lines. This iPhone model with a plastic cover will soon be released on the market by Apple.

The task is pretty easy, and I was able to work independently after a five-minute instruction from a veteran employee. It took around a minute to paste protective film on one rear cover. The new cell phone has not yet been put into mass production, so quantity is not as important. This makes our job more slow-paced than in departments that have begun mass production schedules.

The report itself focussed on working conditions and hours, and discusses the welfare of those working for Pegatron, so those involved may not have realised the impact that releasing information of this sort would have - Apple can't be happy with this blatant disregard of secrecy.

Cases for the budget iPhone have been pictured in the past few days, alongside many photographs of components. This will be Apple's first foray into the mid- and low-range smartphone markets. The budget iPhone is notable as it veers away from Apple's legacy of producing high-quality, high-priced products.

Source: China Labor Watch | Image via NWE

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Those colors make the cheap phone look really cheap. This is one time i wished they stuck with white and black only. Even the iPod Touch in these colors looks ugly.

But I guess they need these ugly pastel colors to match the ones in iOS7. TouchWiz looks awesome in comparison to iOS7 and Lumias in these colors look better too.

This crap looks like it was Made in China...oh wait it was.

Looks like Apple's going to eat up the meager lunch of the Windows Phone. These low-end iPhones have some key advantages over the other bottom feeders: A well-known brand in Apple, and a superior app reservoir.

Now, what if these phones are only intended to sell in emerging markets where Apple are losing their market share to Android and Windows phone?

would any Apple fans care about a plastic model that's not intended for them?

I've never bothered to comment on the appearance of a phone before, but DANG those are ugly.

Doesn't matter. They'll still sell like ... well, like iPhones.

I use HTC 8X and love WP8. But I think my wife will be happier using iPhone than her current phone, HTC Radar. So if cheaper version of iPhone comes out and costs less than $200.00, I will get one for my wife. If more than that, then I will get Lumia 521 - which is better than Radar.

Aletheia said,
I use HTC 8X and love WP8. But I think my wife will be happier using iPhone than her current phone, HTC Radar. So if cheaper version of iPhone comes out and costs less than $200.00, I will get one for my wife. If more than that, then I will get Lumia 521 - which is better than Radar.
its not going too cost less than $200 except on contract.

I very much like both IOS and Android (only 4.2.2+), I would love it if these phones were NOT top of the line specs and equipment and sold ~$200. Imagine the market share IOS would get back (even though that's not whats its all about).

Damn they even copied the Lumia 620 base colours. Seems like they keep the 4"screen but I still think it looks weird. But I guess unless they want to break half their apps they can't do proper ratio screen.

paulheu said,
Damn they even copied the Lumia 620 base colours. Seems like they keep the 4"screen but I still think it looks weird. But I guess unless they want to break half their apps they can't do proper ratio screen.
Exactly. This is the argument I had with Astra. Because Apple keeps using non-standard resolutions of because the OS only supports the resolution for 3 device resolutions, if Apple grows the device it breaks all the apps as far as filling the screen.

The fact that even today the iPad doesn't evenly scale iPhone apps up properly is simply unforgivable in this day in age. Yet the fans tolerate this BS.

Android natively supports all resolutions even above full HD. So the devs have nothing to do exact provide all the bitmaps for the different sizes or just provide 3 main sizes so the apps scales evenly and properly. I hate using an iPad with iPhone apps where there is no iPad version bec using that 2x makes the app looks like crap.

So one guy claims he has seen a real plastic iphone?
So its still a rumor.

People can't just wait right, Apple planning a nice surprise for all those apple-tax haters. And they cant.

vcfan said,
which of these iphones would you like sir? a strawberry smoothie iphone? or a banana smoothie one? yuk

The colour splash effect worked well for Apple before with their colourful range of iMac back in the day. It's just a shame that they're pretty much copying (i know i know), what Nokia have been doing since before the iPhone was even a twinkle in Job's eyes. Express on covers were something Nokia were doing way in the late 90's and although you can't change the colour of the facia anymore, they've continued the trend with the Lumia and it seems to be paying off.
I kind of feel bad for Apple at the moment, the technology we have is hard to push into the market on the back of a 'phone' as most phones are so far removed from being a phone anymore it's not even funny.. Even apple themselves couldn't get that right at once point yabbering on about not holding it right.

I think if they had come along last year and introduced the iphone that you could dock and get a full Mac OS x desktop. via wireless HDMI or something, then they might have had a chance at dominating the market, but as it stands now the world is moving on from desktop with tablets and smart phone and Microsoft's own movement with Windows 8 apps ensures that.
We're in a situation where kids are growing up in a desktop free environment, high powered consoles and phones/tablets means this generation of kids won't know what it's like to use a computer for anything other a 'tool' for word-processing (and probably not even that by the time they're in high school needing to use it).

So, Apple really need to start flooding the market with cheap handsets to gain traction with the 'new kids' their next generation of buyers. Tech moves quickly, more so each year and if they lose the generation gap, it's all over for them.

psionicinversion said,
kind of true, least now itll be mid to low range and high priced compared to other devices!

Err... where did you pull that information from?

JamesWeb said,
History?

That means nothing...
Everybody knows that this is intended to be a competitor to the Nexus phones, which start at $300 for the 8GB model. There's nothing that would indicate that the plastic iPhone will be any more expensive than that. It's called "low-cost" for a reason.

Astra.Xtreme said,

That means nothing...
Everybody knows that this is intended to be a competitor to the Nexus phones, which start at $300 for the 8GB model. There's nothing that would indicate that the plastic iPhone will be any more expensive than that. It's called "low-cost" for a reason.

hahaha!!! BEST comment on Neowin I've ever read

You've never used a Nexus device have you. Wife has an iPhone 5, whereas I own the Nexus 4. You seriously think the plastic iPhone is supposed to be competing with the Nexus?

Considering the Nexus 5 is launching before the end of the year, I HIGHLY doubt this cheap plastic looking iPhone will be competing with that. Perhaps cheap android phones, but not the Nexus.

Still, thanks for the chuckle.

glen8 said,

hahaha!!! BEST comment on Neowin I've ever read

You've never used a Nexus device have you. Wife has an iPhone 5, whereas I own the Nexus 4. You seriously think the plastic iPhone is supposed to be competing with the Nexus?

Considering the Nexus 5 is launching before the end of the year, I HIGHLY doubt this cheap plastic looking iPhone will be competing with that. Perhaps cheap android phones, but not the Nexus.

Still, thanks for the chuckle.

Wow that point went wayyy over your head, didn't it?
Let me clarify it for you since you clearly can't figure it out for yourself.

First, do you understand what the point of this low-cost iPhone is? Hopefully you can at least figure that out...
Now what other phone(s) out there are in this same market that Apple is targeting? Oh that's right, the Nexus phones...

I have a feeling you still won't understand, so I will await your brilliant reply...

Astra.Xtreme said,

Wow that point went wayyy over your head, didn't it?
Let me clarify it for you since you clearly can't figure it out for yourself.

First, do you understand what the point of this low-cost iPhone is? Hopefully you can at least figure that out...
Now what other phone(s) out there are in this same market that Apple is targeting? Oh that's right, the Nexus phones...

I have a feeling you still won't understand, so I will await your brilliant reply...

The only nexus phone I know of that was low cost was the N4 at around 300. The Galaxy Nexus released before the N4 was around $600. The Play editions are around 600 as well.

It really depends on the specs/price of these cheaper iPhones.

techbeck said,

The only nexus phone I know of that was low cost was the N4 at around 300. The Galaxy Nexus released before the N4 was around $600. The Play editions are around 600 as well.

It really depends on the specs/price of these cheaper iPhones.

Yep, I'm assuming they will price match the current Nexus phones.
Obviously the Nexus will have a bigger screen and technically better specs, but a quad-core with a few GB of RAM hardly equate to better performance.

People simply want a cheap unsubsidized route to take. Basically the only option now is Android, and many people out there don't want it. Samsung basically proved that a lot of people don't care about build quality, so I guess Apple is going to take a shot at it too. I'd sure as hell never buy one, but I bet a ton of people will.

Astra.Xtreme said,

That means nothing...
Everybody knows that this is intended to be a competitor to the Nexus phones, which start at $300 for the 8GB model. There's nothing that would indicate that the plastic iPhone will be any more expensive than that. It's called "low-cost" for a reason.


Well it's really called "entry-level", not "low-cost." Just had to be precise here.

Astra.Xtreme said,

Obviously the Nexus will have a bigger screen and technically better specs, but a quad-core with a few GB of RAM hardly equate to better performance.

Lots of people look at hardware specs first and think the better the hardware, the better the phone.


People simply want a cheap unsubsidized route to take. Basically the only option now is Android, and many people out there don't want it. Samsung basically proved that a lot of people don't care about build quality, so I guess Apple is going to take a shot at it too. I'd sure as hell never buy one, but I bet a ton of people will.

Talking about the plastic Samsung uses? Plastic doesnt matter to most people and if it did, I doubt Samsung would be selling as much as they are. The Galaxy series phones are also very easy to tear down and replace components...like the screen. I wouldnt call their build quality that bad.

Thing with Apple and them releasing a cheap phone is that most will buy the cheaper version instead of the more expensive versions. It is happening now with people opting to buy the4 or 4s phones and the iPad minis. One of the reasons their profit keeps taking a hit quarter after quarter. All this is going to do is get them more marketshare. Apple has become a company that produced high end hardware/design to a company opting for cheaper solutions to maintain market share. And that is what they have to do since they have really not changed much the past few years.

techbeck said,

Lots of people look at hardware specs first and think the better the hardware, the better the phone.

Talking about the plastic Samsung uses? Plastic doesnt matter to most people and if it did, I doubt Samsung would be selling as much as they are. The Galaxy series phones are also very easy to tear down and replace components...like the screen. I wouldnt call their build quality that bad.

Thing with Apple and them releasing a cheap phone is that most will buy the cheaper version instead of the more expensive versions. It is happening now with people opting to buy the4 or 4s phones and the iPad minis. One of the reasons their profit keeps taking a hit quarter after quarter. All this is going to do is get them more marketshare. Apple has become a company that produced high end hardware/design to a company opting for cheaper solutions to maintain market share. And that is what they have to do since they have really not changed much the past few years.

Well I don't think the cheaper one will steal away sales of the regular version. Not that many people buy phones out of contract, so this cheaper one will still be more expensive than the $200 it costs for the regular one in contract.

I also wouldn't necessarily say that are opting for cheaper solutions either. This is just an additional option and isn't really reminiscent of them lowering their overall quality standards. The build quality of their products is generally better than everybody else.

This might just be Apple testing the waters in a small market to see if people like colors, plastic, unsubsidized phones, etc. It would be too risky to roll out stuff like that on the regular iPhone.

well could be a WALMART model.. Low prices.. always? lol. I find it crazy how people are out of their minds because Apple wants to get into the low price budget market. It's Apples product and their choice. or am I missing something?

Astra.Xtreme said,

Well I don't think the cheaper one will steal away sales of the regular version. Not that many people buy phones out of contract, so this cheaper one will still be more expensive than the $200 it costs for the regular one in contract.

I also wouldn't necessarily say that are opting for cheaper solutions either. This is just an additional option and isn't really reminiscent of them lowering their overall quality standards. The build quality of their products is generally better than everybody else.

This might just be Apple testing the waters in a small market to see if people like colors, plastic, unsubsidized phones, etc. It would be too risky to roll out stuff like that on the regular iPhone.


I do if the multi-color option is only available it and not the regular one.

Astra.Xtreme said,

Yep, I'm assuming they will price match the current Nexus phones.
Obviously the Nexus will have a bigger screen and technically better specs, but a quad-core with a few GB of RAM hardly equate to better performance.

People simply want a cheap unsubsidized route to take. Basically the only option now is Android, and many people out there don't want it. Samsung basically proved that a lot of people don't care about build quality, so I guess Apple is going to take a shot at it too. I'd sure as hell never buy one, but I bet a ton of people will.

Using different materials for make a phone equate to "build quality"?

I think it's more like if a phone is made, constructed (joining parts/materials) without any gaps, can take physical shock, durable not how it feels in your hand or what material you prefer. That's matter of your taste.

mr_sock_00 said,

Using different materials for make a phone equate to "build quality"?

Actually yes. If I make something out of paper, it will be of lesser quality than something made of plastic. Or for example, a car made of carbon fiber is higher quality than one made of steel and plastic. The strength of a material has a direct correlation to build quality. Plastic is very vulnerable to cracking, which is an issue that plaques a lot of the Galaxy phones. Drop tests have proven that plastic is often an inferior material. But it's cheap, so....

I was implying use of aluminums in iphones. One wonders why people with iphones put plastic cases (same material as samsung) to protect their phones. Why not leave it bare since it is stronger material?

Astra.Xtreme said,

Actually yes. If I make something out of paper, it will be of lesser quality than something made of plastic. Or for example, a car made of carbon fiber is higher quality than one made of steel and plastic. The strength of a material has a direct correlation to build quality. Plastic is very vulnerable to cracking, which is an issue that plaques a lot of the Galaxy phones. Drop tests have proven that plastic is often an inferior material. But it's cheap, so....

To me, build quality is not about material. It is how something is built, how durable it is, and how reliable it is. Just it all depends on how you define quality.

techbeck said,

To me, build quality is not about material. It is how something is built, how durable it is, and how reliable it is. Just it all depends on how you define quality.

Well yeah that's basically what I said in my previous post. The durability and reliability are largely dependent on the material. Aluminum is more durable than plastic, which is why I wouldn't ever want a plastic phone. I'd rather have a dent than a crack.

Astra.Xtreme said,

Well yeah that's basically what I said in my previous post. The durability and reliability are largely dependent on the material. Aluminum is more durable than plastic, which is why I wouldn't ever want a plastic phone. I'd rather have a dent than a crack.

Well they don't use acrylic plastic like you see in dollar stores and changes to yellowish colour in sunlight.

Astra.Xtreme said,

Well yeah that's basically what I said in my previous post. The durability and reliability are largely dependent on the material. Aluminum is more durable than plastic, which is why I wouldn't ever want a plastic phone. I'd rather have a dent than a crack.

Never had crack in a plastic phone and never known anyone else either. Cracked screens...sure, but not the plastic.

techbeck said,

Never had crack in a plastic phone and never known anyone else either. Cracked screens...sure, but not the plastic.

Google it. Cracks are definitely an issue with the GS3 and GS4. Also the drop test between the GS4 and iPhone 5 showed the same results. The problem can be fixed by simply making the shell thicker like the Lumia, but the obvious trade-off is bulk.

You can't really deny that aluminum allows for a thinner, lighter, and stronger chassis compared to plastic.

Astra.Xtreme said,

You can't really deny that aluminum allows for a thinner, lighter, and stronger chassis compared to plastic.

4/4s iPhones screens crack the most and they are regarded as one of the best build phones material wise. Just depends on how you drop it.

techbeck said,

4/4s iPhones screens crack the most and they are regarded as one of the best build phones material wise. Just depends on how you drop it.

Well yeah you can never get away from the problem of the screen cracking as long as they're glass. But we're talking about the chassis besides the screen.

glen8 said,

hahaha!!! BEST comment on Neowin I've ever read

You've never used a Nexus device have you. Wife has an iPhone 5, whereas I own the Nexus 4. You seriously think the plastic iPhone is supposed to be competing with the Nexus?

Considering the Nexus 5 is launching before the end of the year, I HIGHLY doubt this cheap plastic looking iPhone will be competing with that. Perhaps cheap android phones, but not the Nexus.

Still, thanks for the chuckle.


I was thinking the same thing. An iPhone 5 doesn't even beat a Nexus 4 in specs, features or build quality.
The Nexus 4 cost way more in stores than they do getting them straight from Google, by a lot.
And there's definitely nothing cheap about them. Superfast, very well built and strong, and beautiful looking phones, plus the best phone OS period.

glen8 said,
oh dude, seriously....keep going. We're having a good laugh at you in the office today.

Assuming that your response was to me, you might as well be laughing at yourself since your reading comprehension skills are atrocious. Nowhere did I say that the new cheapo iPhone is better specs-wise than the Nexus, so it's rather pathetic that you're convinced otherwise... But do carry on...

Astra.Xtreme said,

That means nothing...
Everybody knows that this is intended to be a competitor to the Nexus phones, which start at $300 for the 8GB model. There's nothing that would indicate that the plastic iPhone will be any more expensive than that. It's called "low-cost" for a reason.

It does mean something. This is APple we are talking about. Apple's mockup is ALWAYS 20%-40% higher than an exact item on retail. Look what they did with the iPad Mini. Its expensive. For what it costs you come out better just buying the 10" model.

To compare, the iPad Mini costs less than a Galaxy Note 8.0. But you get less too. No stylus, lower resolution, and hardware that is basically lame in speed and more.

I will bet you this iPhone off contract will be no less than $350...and 349.99 is still $350. I am thinking it will 399.99 rouchly 1/2 the cost of the regular iPhone. Which will make it about $100 more than the iPod Touch.

Astra.Xtreme said,

Wow that point went wayyy over your head, didn't it?
Let me clarify it for you since you clearly can't figure it out for yourself.

First, do you understand what the point of this low-cost iPhone is? Hopefully you can at least figure that out...
Now what other phone(s) out there are in this same market that Apple is targeting? Oh that's right, the Nexus phones...

I have a feeling you still won't understand, so I will await your brilliant reply...

I would disagree on some level. Even tho the Nexus phones are cheap phones, I don't think they are selling in significant amount of numbers for Apple to be that concerned with it. Though I could be wrong.

I would say Apple is likely more looking at Samsung who has been selling over 40M cheap phones in these low end markets. Not saying we shouldnt include the Nexus, just saying the Nexus likely isnt APples focus.

When APple was focus on getting Apple back on track, Steve Jobs admitted that for Apple to win, they had to drop the philosophy that Microsoft had to lose. Bec MS was their only focus. Now that APple has attacked Samsung and Samsung has basically free advertising thanks to the lawsuits, Apple is likely targeting them more.

Who you think drove Apple into making their iPad Mini? You think it was the Nexus Tablets? I doubt it. It was likely the decent success Samsung has had with the Galaxy Tab 7.7, or the Success Amazon had with the Kindle Fire./Fire HD.

The Nexus isn't hurting Apple sales, Samsung is. Samsung made a healthy profit over Apple for the first time. Google isn't even close.