By Alexandra Burlacu | Jun 03, 2013 12:50 PM EDT
Some new pictures have surfaced showing a plastic back panel with a Lightning connector, indicating the part could be from a pre-release built of the rumored low-cost iPhone.
Apple has announced no official plans for a cheaper iPhone, but rumors and speculation keep intensifying nonetheless. After numerous reports and analyst predictions, now a plastic back panel purportedly for the low-cost iPhone appears in some leaked images.
Apple.Pro was the first to highlight the pictures posted to Chinese microblogging site Sina Weibo. The images feature a rear panel that seems slightly thicker than that of the iPhone 5, with a curved back reminiscent of the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS.
The component looks like plastic, with one picture also showing a Lightning connector at the bottom of the case. It's difficult to determine at this point whether the images are authentic or not, but the design does fall in line with rumored expectations regarding Apple's cheaper iPhone. On the other hand, aside for the Lightning connector, the back panel doesn't have any identifiable labels to indicate Apple built it. Consequently, it would be fairly easy to fabric and claim it's the real deal. Take things with a grain of salt.
While the new images may fall in line with previous rumors, one thing doesn't quite match: this back panel is black, while an earlier rumor suggested Apple would only offer a black version for its high-end iPhone models, not the rumored low-cost one. That report claimed the cheaper iPhone would come in a range of color options, but not black.
Apple is expected to launch a low-cost iPhone later this year, presumably aiming to compete with cheaper Android-based smartphones that retail without a contract subsidy. This would allow the Cupertino tech giant to compete in a new market segment it currently does not address.
Apple.Pro further bolsters another rumor that Apple's next-generation iPhone expected in 2014 will boast an even larger 4.7-inch display. The iPhone 5's 4-inch display marked the first boost from the 3.5-inch screen all previous iPhone models features. The publication also notes the so-called "iPhone 6" would have a body length similar to the iPhone 5 and would have a metal chassis with a "slightly rounded point" in design.
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