Apple’s entry-level iPhone may adopt U.S.-made transparent plastic chassis, sources say

“Apple’s rumored entry-level iPhone reportedly may adopt plastic for its chassis instead of reinforced glass or unibody metal as in the company’s standard iPhone models, to save cost, according to sources from the upstream supply chain,” Ninelu Tu and Joseph Tsai report for DigiTimes.

“The rumor in the supply chain is that the inexpensive iPhone chassis supplier will reportedly be a US-based electronic manufacturing service (EMS) provider,” Tu and Tsai report. “However, other rumors are circulating that the entry-level iPhone will adopt a chassis mixed with plastic and metal, with the internal metal parts being able to be seen from outside through special design.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: We know Apple are loathe to look back, but if they do make this iPhone, among the first available color choices should be Bondi Blue.

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  1. Is the price of the casing really the key part of the manufacturing cost for the iPhone? I doubt it. The screen and electronic components such as flash memory are the major contributors.
    I have no problem with Apple released a low cost phone if they are able to maintain reasonable margins on it. Typically production and component costs go down the longer a model is in production. Therefore Apple’s current approach of selling the previous generations at reduced cost works well.
    To produce a phone that can retail for $200 without contact, Apple would have to dumb it down significantly. Obviously no retina display, low memory and the slow processor possible. However the processor would need to be able to keep up with the OS and those in the 3GS would not cut it. This is not like the iPod where the shuffle lacked a screen or the nano had a tiny non-touch screen. Any iPhone would need access to app and that requires a touch screen.

    1. The cost of the housing may not be particularly significant compare to other parts, but all costs need to be optimised if you’re to make a cheaper product.

      The housing will also have an effect on how rapidly they can be built, so a redesign may save costs in other ways.

  2. [i]We know Apple are loathe to look back, but if they do make this iPhone, among the first available color choices should be Bondi Blue.[/i]

    … and get Jeff Goldblum to do the commercial!

  3. “Sources” are making this stuff up. Look at the iPod line-up. Even the least expensive shuffle is of unibody aluminum. The benefits to consistency of product quality and structural integrity pay for themselves. There will be no plastic iPhones, IMHO. Indeed, Apple does not look backward.

    I would bet on multiple colors, ala iPods. A nice silver with a Bondi Blue bumper case would be very desirable.

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