Though Apple has still not announced its plans for the rumored iPhone event that’s widely believed to take place this fall, there have been plenty of rumors and leaks surrounding Apple’s budget iPhone. Also called the low cost iPhone, the iPhone Lite, we’re hearing that the device may land as the iPhone 5C. This device is anticipated to launch alongside Apple’s more prominent iPhone 5S flagship later this year, and we’ve compiled many of the rumors that we’ve been seeing. Please note that this list is based off of leaks and rumors, and the iPhone 5C could still change when it debuts.
1. Brand Name
Leaked images appeared over the weekend suggesting that the low cost iPhone will in fact be called the iPhone 5C, where the “C” will stand for color. The iPhone 5C moniker was prominently shown on leaked packaging for what is presumed to be the retail box. And unlike the cardboard box for prior iPhone models, the iPhone 5C will be packaged in a white plastic box, similar to today’s iPod packaging, which a clear lid to proudly display the item inside.
The iPhone 5C name makes sense as Apple likely don’t want people to refer to its brand and product as being “cheap,” “budget,” or “low cost,” all terms that may imply diminished quality. As a premium brand, the iPhone 5C still helps Apple keep the allure of its brand.
Unlike the premium glass and metal structures that we’re seeing for the last few generations of iPhone starting with the iPhone 4’s design, the iPhone 5C will be employing a polycarbonate design. Bringing back the unibody plastic of the iPhone 3G generation, the iPhone 5C will largely keep the tall, rectangular figure that debuted with the iPhone 5, and rumors have it that the iPhone 5C will have the same 4-inch Retina Display resolution as the iPhone 5, iPod Touch, and iPhone 5S.
Moreover, the plastic shell will come in an assortment of vibrant colors, and Apple may be taking a more fashion-conscious approach to the smartphone given that it had made a recent hire from the luxury fashion house of Yves St. Laurent.
And the buttons–volume button, power, and ringer silencer switch–will not be chrome or metal. Instead, these buttons will be plastic and will be painted to match the color of the plastic body.
The iPhone 5C is rumored to have a 5-megapixel camera with single LED flash on the rear of the device. There are rumors that Apple may increase the megapixel count of the iPhone 5S to a 12- or 13-megapixel sensor and the flagship will have a dual-LED flash unit. If this happens, it could potentially even open up the iPhone 5C to an 8-megapixel camera, depending on cost.
The device will also have a front-facing FaceTime camera as well.
4. Retina Display
One area that the iPhone 5C may not skimp on is the display. So far, rumors are pointing to the same 4-inch Retina Display resolution that’s found on the iPhone 5. This would be a big win for consumers who want a high resolution display, but may not be able to afford the flagship iOS smartphone off the bat.
5. Processing Speed, RAM, Storage
While many of the leaks right now are cosmetic leaks showing the exterior designs, we haven’t heard much in terms of what the internals of the iPhone 5C will contain. Don’t expect ground-breaking specs for Apple’s entry level phone though. An earlier leaked document points to 1 GB of RAM, Bluetooth 4.0, and WiFi being present on the low-cost model as well as an accelerometer.
Storage capacities may be more limited to keep costs low. The current iPhone flagship comes in 16, 32, and 64 GB varieties. Apple may just stick to a 16 GB model for the iPhone 5C.
As far as processor goes, the iPhone 5 today has an Apple A5 processor and the iPhone 5S may come with an A7 processor. If this happens, then the iPhone 5C could potentially debut with an A5 CPU as well, or even a scaled down A5.
6. Pricing, Release Date, and Availability
The current iPhone lineup pricing is as follows, at least for the 16 GB model. The iPhone 4 is offered as a free on contract option, the iPhone 4S is available for $99 witha two-year agreement, and the iPhone 5 flagship comes in at $200 with a contract. It’s unclear if when the iPhone 5S and the iPhone 5C debut, Apple will continue to sell its older iPhone models alongside the two new options.
There are rumors that Apple won’t be selling older models, though, alongside the new flagship and iPhone 5C. If this happens, the iPhone 5S will take over the $200 price point for the 16 GB model with a two-year contract. iPhone 5C may slot in anywhere between the free and $100 price on a two-year contract. It’s unclear what pricing Apple will set the device at when it’s sold unlocked and without a contract. Flagship iPhone models sold without a contract start at $650 today, and Apple will need to price the iPhone 5C much lower to compete against budget Android devices as well as the Nokia Lumia 520 on AT&T, a device that sells for as little as $100 without a contract required.
Apple is expected to announce its iPhone lineup this fall, and the iPhone 5C is widely believed to be part of this new hardware lineup. The device may go on sale as early as late September or October.