Apple's low-cost smartphone will look like the iPhone 5, take some cues from the iPod Touch and the iPod classic, and switch to a plastic body.
At least, that's the latest scuttlebutt from the folks at Apple news site iLounge. Citing the usual "reliable sources," the site claims the new model will be a cross between the iPhone 5, the fifth-generation iPod Touch, and the classic iPod.
Like the current iPhone, the low-cost version would sport a 4-inch 1,136x640 pixel Retina Display and use the new Lightning interface. The sensor, camera, and button arrangement would all match those found on the iPhone 5. The screen itself would stick with Gorilla Glass, say iLounge's sources, but the body would be made of plastic.
The bottom of the phone would take its design from the iPod Touch. Like the Touch, the volume buttons would adopt an elongated pill shape instead of the more circular design from the last few iPhones. The back of the phone would be home to the camera, microphone, and rear flash with the same layout as that on the latest iPod Touch.
Finally, the overall shape would be similar to the one found on the classic iPod.
As always, rumors like these should be taken with a grain of salt.
A few reports say the budget phone would use a plastic body; others make no mention of that. Several reports claim the phone will debut this year; at least one analyst has said it won't surface until next year at the earliest. And a range of prices have been alleged for the new phone, anywhere from $99 to $250.
Even Apple's response to the rumors has been tinged with mystery. Senior Marketing VP Phil Schiller, reportedly told the Shanghai Evening News recently that Apple will "not develop cheap smartphones in order to grab market share away." But the story was quickly revised, reportedly at the request of Apple, making Schiller's comments seem a bit more vague.