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Purported 'iPhone 5' cases proliferate in China

post #1 of 32
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Chinese case makers have begun distributing cases allegedly for Apple's next-generation iPhone, with one report calling the cases "everywhere in China."

Earlier this week a schematic emerged claiming to show Apple's new design for the so-called iPhone 5 M.I.C Gadget now reports that the alleged iPhone 5 cases are "everywhere in China now."

One vendor is selling the silicon cases on Chinese trade site Alibaba.com for 2CNY ($0.31) each with a minimum order of 500 pieces. Similar to the images published earlier this week, the cases feature curved sides and locate the vibrate switch on the opposite side of last year's iPhone 4 design.

The case designs contradict some pre-existing rumors regarding Apple's next-generation smartphone. In May, parts (1, 2) allegedly for the fifth-generation iPhone suggested that Apple would move the camera flash away from the rear-camera. But, the cases being distributed in China place the flash component in the same location.



A number of reports had also suggested that the next iPhone would contain only "slight modifications" from the iPhone 4, with some calling the next device the "iPhone 4GS."

Chinese case manufacturers have in the past been the source of leaks of upcoming Apple products, such as the iPad 2. Last year, Foxconn reportedly became suspicious of the accuracy of leaked cases for the then-unreleased second-generation iPad and reported the issue to local police.

Last December, three Foxconn employees were arrested for allegedly leaking the design of the iPad 2 to accessory companies in China. This June, a court sentenced two former Foxconn employees and a manager at an accessories manufacturer and to prison terms. Court documents show that the employees were paid 20,000CNY ($3107) to provide advance digital images of the touchscreen tablet.

Apple is expected to introduce the next-generation iPhone this fall, with recent rumors pegging the launch for mid-September. The device is believed to include the new A5 processor, a dual-mode baseband chip and an 8-megapixel camera.
post #2 of 32
I had been very opposed to a larger phone, but then realized my right pocket doesn't need to hold anything else.
post #3 of 32
What's the cutout next to the camera opening for on the side of the phone?
post #4 of 32
I mean, who would have thunk to use the Chinese obsession with image and status through "leaking" these iPhone 5 cases into the Chinese markets? You couldn't get better promotional bang for your buck! Now everyone with an iPhone 5 case in China is scratching their heads and wondering "What is the actual guts of this case really like?" They'll likely pay ANYTHING to buy the real thing. I knew that laughing Cheshire cat smile on Jobs in the photo was basically saying that.
post #5 of 32
What is the point of Apple expending many months of engineering effort to make the iPhone a few mil thinner, and of a tasteful design, if people just put a big thick Play Doh coloured case on it?
post #6 of 32
My guess:
This isn't the iPhone 5 (or 4s). This is the "future product transition" Opponheimer alluded to inthe latest Quarterly call.

They're transitioning the iPod Touch out of the iPod category and into the iOS category. Some other thoughts:
* it will be marketed as a new revutionary/magical device, and not an "iPad or iPhone lite" - perhaps with some sort of new iName. This also gives the device more "premium" cred than simply the latest version of an iPod touch or repurposed 3GS.
* it will be a true world device aimed at the huge market potential in china, etc, but as a new device, it will also be desirable in countries that already have iPhone, iPod touch, etc.
* purpose is all-in-one pocketable media, gaming, internet, cloud, and phone.
* slightly larger form factor (than iPhone) is better for gaming, movies, etc. The 'smaller, thinner, lighter' design trajectory will remain with the iphone line
* smaller than 7" tablet = more portable; Larger than iphone = better for some tasks & gaming, etc. A 4" retina display would look amazing!
* larger size also makes more room for more phone radios, battery, or other tech
* available in two versions (like iPad): wifi only or wifi+(global phone radios) for prepaid phone/data market; + VoIP
* with ios5, deep cloud integration, entire apple ecosystem...
* This will be the primary "global" phone/iPod device
** in US or other countries where iPhone currently exists, if you want thinner, smaller, premium smartphone, (and you have/want a traditional cell contract (ATT, Verizon, etc)) you get an iPhone.
** if you want a larger, more media focused, but still pocketabe device (with option for prepaid phone/data), you get this new device.
** doesnt directly cannibalize iPad bc they still serve two distinct purposes

* perhaps iPhone only gets minor refresh +A5 this year (like 4s, although I think they'll name it 5) so it doesn't overshadow the new device too much and can reuse many existing components and design . Also maintains some manufacturing stability/continuity and saves $$ (which theyll be spending to make as many of these new tjings as possible. Then the ip6 gets big update + LTE, etc

* Rev 1 will have A4 and maybe repurpose some 3GS and 4 parts (cameras, rocker volume button, etc) . This would save $$ (both in design and manufacturing bc the infrastructure is in place) and still leave Apple plenty of room to upgrade aspects in future years to drive more sales.
* iPhone still retains ultra premium status by getting latest A processors, maybe more ram, premium materials, etc.
post #7 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Netizen View Post

I mean, who would have thunk to use the Chinese obsession with image and status through "leaking" these iPhone 5 cases into the Chinese markets? You couldn't get better promotional bang for your buck! Now everyone with an iPhone 5 case in China is scratching their heads and wondering "What is the actual guts of this case really like?" They'll likely pay ANYTHING to buy the real thing. I knew that laughing Cheshire cat smile on Jobs in the photo was basically saying that.

You're right he's a marketing genius. And they do leak stuff sometimes. But I disagree that this is one of those times. Three people went to jail last year for leaking the design of ipad2 to third parties. Apple would have convinced a court(I guess?) in china that their designs are valuable and shouldn't be leaked. They wouldn't jerk the courts around like that for so little gain. They want to play very nice with the system there. Apple has the world to gain in china. The other tech companies that have gone to china have been blunted one way or another. Apple might be able to pull it off. China is where the puck is. Those case makers can make money off getting their cases out first, enough to pay thousands of dollars to get pictures of the new designs apparently. What you're seeing is demand. There will likely be more of this in the future as all those apple stores start opening up over there creating an ever larger market for third parties.
post #8 of 32
Forget fake Apple stores, China will be opening the first Iphone museum pretty soon taking credit for the whole damn thing before Apple's done with them.
post #9 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Napoleon_PhoneApart View Post

What's the cutout next to the camera opening for on the side of the phone?

Also, importantly, what happened to the rumours of the flash being moved to the other side of the phone or something like that?
post #10 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

What is the point of Apple expending many months of engineering effort to make the iPhone a few mil thinner, and of a tasteful design, if people just put a big thick Play Doh coloured case on it?

It's a cruel joke, like the human body. We're capable of so many amazing things but stuck with this lumpy, disease and cancer-prone, fleshy sack.
post #11 of 32
Hmmm, kinda weird that they would be moving back to curved sides so soon. Oh well, I think I'll be more than happy with my iPhone 4 for another year or so.
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post #12 of 32
Give me a bigger screen (4" minimum, preferably 4.5") and an A5 and I'll be happy enough. The current iPhone screen is so tiny as to be rather embarrassing compared to many Android phones now.
post #13 of 32
Are they really going back to the fugly rounded curves? I love the slick shape it has now. Looks much more contemporary. Hmmm
post #14 of 32
I got into the iPhone a month after the 3Gs came out and waited a few extra months to get my iPad so I jumped in at the 2. Of all the apples stuff I like my two devices the best overall. (sans Retina on both).

My favorite promising rumor (and wish) is that the iPhone5 coming out soon will be like the iPad2 only in an approx 4in screen with of course the Retina display.

iPad2 has the best of the curve and flat.

Not sure how I feel about some tapered design, but can't have everything.
post #15 of 32
So glad they're dropping the brick-like look of the iPhone 4, it's very hard to find a case that'll compliment the flat sides. And I do not see the purpose of a glass back, what the heck is that for?! I guess these were the Mark Papermaster's jinxed era.
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post #16 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Chinese case makers have begun distributing cases allegedly for Apple's next-generation iPhone, with one report calling the cases "everywhere in China."...

Am I the only one clinging to the hope that this is in fact the new iPod touch instead?

If this is the shape of the new iPhone 5 it will be the first time I *won't* buy this year's iPhone. Who wants a bigger, flatter phone that looks like a tiny iPad? How incredibly ugly and awful.

The current iPhone is feeling a little big and bulky to me lately, the last thing I want is a bigger phone. I can deal with iPhone 5 being the *same* size as iPhone 4, but bigger? No way.
post #17 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

Am I the only one clinging to the hope that this is in fact the new iPod touch instead?

If this is the shape of the new iPhone 5 it will be the first time I *won't* buy this year's iPhone. Who wants a bigger, flatter phone that looks like a tiny iPad? How incredibly ugly and awful.

The current iPhone is feeling a little big and bulky to me lately, the last thing I want is a bigger phone. I can deal with iPhone 5 being the *same* size as iPhone 4, but bigger? No way.

I agree. But I do think this is the "future product transition" (aka, new ipod Touch transitioned out of ipod and into iOS family; + option of getting version with cell radio for prepaid, etc)

See my long rambling post above!
post #18 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by OMO View Post

My guess:
This isn't the iPhone 5 (or 4s). This is the "future product transition" Opponheimer alluded to inthe latest Quarterly call.

They're transitioning the iPod Touch out of the iPod category and into the iOS category. Some other thoughts:
* it will be marketed as a new revutionary/magical device, and not an "iPad or iPhone lite" - perhaps with some sort of new iName. This also gives the device more "premium" cred than simply the latest version of an iPod touch or repurposed 3GS.
* it will be a true world device aimed at the huge market potential in china, etc, but as a new device, it will also be desirable in countries that already have iPhone, iPod touch, etc.
* purpose is all-in-one pocketable media, gaming, internet, cloud, and phone.
* slightly larger form factor (than iPhone) is better for gaming, movies, etc. The 'smaller, thinner, lighter' design trajectory will remain with the iphone line
* smaller than 7" tablet = more portable; Larger than iphone = better for some tasks & gaming, etc. A 4" retina display would look amazing!
* larger size also makes more room for more phone radios, battery, or other tech
* available in two versions (like iPad): wifi only or wifi+(global phone radios) for prepaid phone/data market; + VoIP
* with ios5, deep cloud integration, entire apple ecosystem...
* This will be the primary "global" phone/iPod device
** in US or other countries where iPhone currently exists, if you want thinner, smaller, premium smartphone, (and you have/want a traditional cell contract (ATT, Verizon, etc)) you get an iPhone.
** if you want a larger, more media focused, but still pocketabe device (with option for prepaid phone/data), you get this new device.
** doesnt directly cannibalize iPad bc they still serve two distinct purposes

* perhaps iPhone only gets minor refresh +A5 this year (like 4s, although I think they'll name it 5) so it doesn't overshadow the new device too much and can reuse many existing components and design . Also maintains some manufacturing stability/continuity and saves $$ (which theyll be spending to make as many of these new tjings as possible. Then the ip6 gets big update + LTE, etc

* Rev 1 will have A4 and maybe repurpose some 3GS and 4 parts (cameras, rocker volume button, etc) . This would save $$ (both in design and manufacturing bc the infrastructure is in place) and still leave Apple plenty of room to upgrade aspects in future years to drive more sales.
* iPhone still retains ultra premium status by getting latest A processors, maybe more ram, premium materials, etc.

that's a good thesis- it would also fit with the cost structure, making the cost more in-line with the current iTouch... good call

ken
post #19 of 32
Mute switch on the opposite side, inline with the iPad's mute/rotation switch? Hmm...
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post #20 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by OMO View Post

I agree. But I do think this is the "future product transition" (aka, new ipod Touch transitioned out of ipod and into iOS family; + option of getting version with cell radio for prepaid, etc)

See my long rambling post above!

Yeah, I read it after I posted. I sure hope that's what's happening. Or something similar.

I guess in that scenario there are no new cases for iPhone 5 because iPhone 5 is identical in shape to iPhone 4.

One could also be encouraged by the fact that however many of these cases exist, they are all so far just the cheap rubber ones that don't necessarily reflect a big investment on the manufacturers part. i.e. - they could just be making a bet on the new shape and not actually know for sure themselves.
post #21 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

Am I the only one clinging to the hope that this is in fact the new iPod touch instead?

I think you may be right.
post #22 of 32
Curved sides, just like...the iPad 2! I bet it's got an aluminum back again, like in 2007.

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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post #23 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

What is the point of Apple expending many months of engineering effort to make the iPhone a few mil thinner, and of a tasteful design, if people just put a big thick Play Doh coloured case on it?

You've been to houses with very nice, expensive furniture covered by plastic, right?
post #24 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by OMO View Post

I agree. But I do think this is the "future product transition" (aka, new ipod Touch transitioned out of ipod and into iOS family; + option of getting version with cell radio for prepaid, etc)

See my long rambling post above!

How is your product different from iPad Mini?

And iPhone is only too thick, not too big, the bigger screen Android, namely 4 - 4.3" as been the best seller with anything bigger being either non holdable or non pocketable. I think a Super THIN Edge 4.3" Screen would be the best case scenario. Or they could make a 4.15".

I actually think Product Transition means cheaper iPhone for prepaid market to replace iPod Touch. Since a prepaid iPhone is no different to iPod touch then.
post #25 of 32
Have everyone forgotten that Apple obtained an exclusive license in august 2010 to use Liquidmetal in consumer products?

My theory is that Apple weren't happy with the plastic, scratch prone back of the 3G/3GS. At the time they were designing the iPhone 4 the only viable design choice, in order to avoid the scratched backs of the older gen phones, was to make the back piece of the next iPhone out of scratch resistant glass. Now, one needs to keep in mind that normal glass molded in a curved shape unfortunately contains lots of inherent material tension (i.e. it will crack VERY easily) hence the flat backpiece of the iPhone 4. The flat back of the current gen phone was, in other words, probably a practical design choice in order to be able to use the best design materials they had at hand.

Now that they have access to a lightweight, scratch and shatter resistant alternative to glass, common plastics and aluminium they are quite likely returning to the original curved design, aiming for more design consistency between their product lines. I believe the curved back piece (though a bit more flat this time) of the 3GS is most likely returning and I'm guessing that the iPhone 5 will look a lot like a miniature iPad 2.

I'd also imagine that Apple will begin a transition to Liquidmetal in all of their smaller consumer electronics over time (iPad 3 and the next iPod Touch), as they update their product lines. Makes little sense to sign an exlusive licensing deal for a radically new material with the properties of Liquidmetal and then NOT put it to use.

Cheers
post #26 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by fb0r View Post

Have everyone forgotten that Apple obtained an exclusive license in august 2010 to use Liquidmetal in consumer products?

My theory is that Apple weren't happy with the plastic, scratch prone back of the 3G/3GS. At the time they were designing the iPhone 4 the only viable design choice, in order to avoid the scratched backs of the older gen phones, was to make the back piece of the next iPhone out of scratch resistant glass. Now, one needs to keep in mind that normal glass molded in a curved shape unfortunately contains lots of inherent material tension (i.e. it will crack VERY easily) hence the flat backpiece of the iPhone 4. The flat back of the current gen phone was, in other words, probably a practical design choice in order to be able to use the best design materials they had at hand.

Now that they have access to a lightweight, scratch and shatter resistant alternative to glass, common plastics and aluminium they are quite likely returning to the original curved design, aiming for more design consistency between their product lines. I believe the curved back piece (though a bit more flat this time) of the 3GS is most likely returning and I'm guessing that the iPhone 5 will look a lot like a miniature iPad 2.

I'd also imagine that Apple will begin a transition to Liquidmetal in all of their smaller consumer electronics over time (iPad 3 and the next iPod Touch), as they update their product lines. Makes little sense to sign an exlusive licensing deal for a radically new material with the properties of Liquidmetal and then NOT put it to use.

Cheers

Welcome to the forum. If they move back to a curved back where will the antennas reside? As part of the back plate, in the chrome ring bordering the front plate, or internal?
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post #27 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Welcome to the forum. If they move back to a curved back where will the antennas reside? As part of the back plate, in the chrome ring bordering the front plate, or internal?

Thanks for the welcome!

I doubt that the antenna would be part of the back plate though it has been used as antenna material in some consumer applications so it could be a possibility. More importantly Liquidmetal (which is actually a collective term for a type of amorphous metal alloys with properties more akin to glass or plastics than metals such as aluminium) is completely non-magnetic and, given the extremely hardy properties of it, a case of the material can probably be designed and molded to be substantially thinner than equivalent glass, plastic or aluminium encasings.

I suppose they could use the chrome ring as part of the antenna or the antenna might even be completely internal, as with the 3G/3GS, at the possible cost of a minimally decreased amount of reception compared to the iPhone 4. Since the liquidmetal case would be thinner than an equivalent metal case the Apple designers would achieve several goals: acceptable reception even when completely encased in the material (due to its thinness), scratch resistance similar to glass without being as prone to shattering, and much lighter weight compared to the glass rear slab in the iPhone 4.

The downside of Liquidmetal is most likely that it's still quite expensive to produce as it is a patented production process. I doubt we will see Liquidmetal MacBooks anytime soon...

Cheers
post #28 of 32
Which is it, Apple getting what they deserve by allowing the Chinese to manufacture the products or Apple allowing it to happen and getting free publicity? I opt for the latter.
post #29 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

What is the point of Apple expending many months of engineering effort to make the iPhone a few mil thinner, and of a tasteful design, if people just put a big thick Play Doh coloured case on it?

Totally agree.
post #30 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by fb0r View Post

I doubt that the antenna would be part of the back plate as Liquidmetal isn't particularly conductive. Liquidmetal (which is actually a collective term for a type of amorphous metal alloys with properties more akin to glass or plastics than metals such as aluminium) is completely non-magnetic and, given the extremely hardy properties of it, a case of the material can probably be designed and molded to be substantially thinner than equivalent glass, plastic or aluminium encasings.

I should have been more clear. I mean integrated into the backplate. I know that Liquidmetal isn't conductive but I'm not aware of how radio transparency it is.

Quote:
The downside of Liquidmetal is most likely that it's still quite expensive to produce. I doubt we will see Liquidmetal MacBooks anytime soon...

When Apple starting milling their machines from a solid piece of aluminium it seemed like it would be excessively expensive. And while the benefits are clear in a mobile device like a notebook, it is less clear to mill the Mac mini from a solid block when it's not likely to be handled or moved.

Even the antennas in the iPhone 4 are milled. That's a lot of very precise milling but with 20+ million a quarter the economy of scale is certainly there. With the exclusivity you mention I don't think it's unreasonable to think Apple could have this ready for the iPhone 5 with another unprecedented level of design and quality the competition can't feasibly achieve within a reasonable price point.
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post #31 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I should have been more clear. I mean integrated into the backplate. I know that Liquidmetal isn't conductive but I'm not aware of how radio transparency it is.


When Apple starting milling their machines from a solid piece of aluminium it seemed like it would be excessively expensive. And while the benefits are clear in a mobile device like a notebook, it is less clear to mill the Mac mini from a solid block when it's not likely to be handled or moved.

Even the antennas in the iPhone 4 are milled. That's a lot of very precise milling but with 20+ million a quarter the economy of scale is certainly there. With the exclusivity you mention I don't think it's unreasonable to think Apple could have this ready for the iPhone 5 with another unprecedented level of design and quality the competition can't feasibly achieve within a reasonable price point.

I clarified a bit myself while you were posting: It's been used in radio antennas according to some articles on the web so it can be used as antenna material despite lacking electrical conductivity. The main thing about it however is that it can be made quite a bit thinner than an equivalent regular metal or plastic case which would allow for more radio transparency even if the physical properties of the material are the same. I have my doubts that Apple will make the antennagate mistake, using an external antenna, twice but they might have found an engineering solution for it in the 5. Who knows?

Anyway, I agree with you. I don't doubt that there is a very good reason for Apple signing exclusive rights to the material and that they could push the cost of production way down despite the material being on license from 3rd party.

Hopefully my next iPhone won't look like roadkill after a few months of sitting in pockets and won't shatter from being thrown around or used out in the cold.

Cheers
post #32 of 32
I'll laugh like a maniac if Apple have purposely leaked incorrect info to the Chinese copiers.
It would teach them to jump the gun (who really wants a case before the phone is out?) and might make them wary about other information that was leaked.
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