Speculation that Apple will bring a low-cost iPhone to market this year got a fillip today, with the discovery of a patent filing for a device that appears to tally with leaks from the tech giant's supply chain.
Picked up on by a host of iFan sites, Apple’s filing with the US Patent and Trademark Office details a mystery gadget that sports an all-touchscreen user-interface – there's no sign of the iPhone's familiar physical home button - and a plastic exterior.
The latter feature chimes with a slew of separate reports suggesting that the much-rumoured, lesser-spotted cheaper iPhone will ditch the existing phone’s aluminium and glass construction for a polycarbonate shell to keep costs down.
Interestingly, the handset in the patent's rudimenary line drawing – if indeed a 'handset' is what it is – appears to be equipped with only a rear-mounted camera. This suggests that a front-facing snapper could also be sacrificed to make the phone more affordable for consumers in its core target markets in the developing world.
Purportedly smaller than the standard-sized iPhone – hence the often-attached ‘mini’ sobriquet – the cheaper iPhone is apparently intended to help see off the challenge from affordable Android smartphones in China and India.
According to some industry experts, the iPhone mini could sell for as little as £170 and will recycle parts such as screens and processors from older-generation iPhones.
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