Is Apple going to sell a cheaper iPhone? 

'Apple working on a cheaper iPhone' rumours have been circulating for a while now - in fact the cheaper iPhone release has been rumoured since early 2011 and the rumours have been going hot, then cold, and hot again ever since. That Apple will one day make a cheaper, lighter more accessible iPhone is likely: after all it made a iPod mini, and iPad mini, not to mention the Mac mini. So an iPhone mini (or an iPhone 5C as it's expected to be called) is more a question of when and why.

On 3 September, a Telegraph report claimed that mobile phone shops have been told to prepare to display three different iPhone models, a big hint that the iPhone 5S will launch along side an iPhone 5C.

See: Does Apple really need to make a cheaper iPhone?

It doesn't indicate that Apple is about to launch another new phone in conjunction with the iPhone 5C and iPhone 5S, it is likely the third model will be either the existing iPhone 5 or the iPhone 4S.

Currently shops have room to display two different iPhone models, the iPhone 5 and the iPhone 4S. Apple is requesting that they make room for three options. 

As for the iPhone 5C name, that rumour slipped out after leaked images of parts showing the name iPhone 5C on packaging appeared back in July.

 

See also: iPad mini 2 release date, rumours, and leaked images

The demand for a cheaper iPhone 5C is high. The iPhone is a fantastic piece of kit, but it's fairly expensive, a cheaper iPhone would be fantastically popular with people who want to buy into the iPhone experience, but don't feel they can afford or justify a full iPhone. SEE: Does Apple really need to make a cheaper iPhone for China and India?

Some note that Apple already sells a low-cost iPhone - the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S are still available to buy. However, not everyone is happy to buy a phone that is more than two years old, even if it's never been used before. This is one reason why so many people have opted for cheaper Android devices. 

So demand for a cheaper iPhone is high, but that doesn't always translate into Apple actually selling an iPhone 5C. Apple is known to test products, but never release them; and often has a better idea of what people really want than we garner from surveys and customer polls. It's unlikely that Apple will release an iPhone 5C if it believes the full iPhone is a better solution. 

Apple has also been reporting declining margins on sales of its products recently, leading to concern among investors. The reason for the declining margins is the popularity of the low-cost Apple products like the iPad mini. 

One thing that might spur Apple on could be the Google Nexus 4 phone, which is a 4.7in Smartphone that Google is selling for £239 (8GB). This is a low cost version of Google's Nexus 7 smartphone and has been consistently selling out since it's launch in October 2012.

Just as it did with the iPad mini (which is a response to the Google Nexus 7 and Amazon Kindle Fire HD) Apple may be have an iPhone 5C release to respond to the arrival of cheaper (yet still effective smartphones). 2013 may well be the year we see an iPhone 5C release.

Strategy Analytics' Neil Mawston certainly thinks Apple should release an iPhone Lite in 2013, because it could be the only way to stop Samsung extending its lead over Apple in the smartphone market. Mawston believes, however, that Apple will wait until 2014 before launching the iPhone 5C. Could it be too little too late?

Also read: Low-cost iPhone: 'C' for cheap, color or classic?

New iPhone 5C rumours

Rumours surrounding the iPhone 5C and wide and varied, most centre on the cost and feature set. Here we will collect iPhone 5C rumours as they come along.

See: iPhone 5C could help Apple take top spot from Samsung in China

And: iPhone 5S, iPhone 5C to be most successful Apple launch ever

iPhone 5C will come in multiple colour options

Apple's iPhone mini could come in up to eight colours, and be part of Apple's plan to bring more choice to its customers. According to Topeka Capital analyst Brian White, Apple could launch its next iPhone in three sizes, including the iPhone 5C, in order to expand its reach.

In May, a Japanese blog cited "trusted" sources in a report that claims Apple is working on several new colours for the cheaper iPhone, including white, pink, green, blue, and yellow-orange.

Then, in July, numerous reports highlighted photographs of what appears to be brightly coloured iPhone 5C casings that were allegedly leaked from factories.

See: iPhone rumours: three colours, two sizes and a low-cost model, claims

Since then, iPhone 5C leaked components have been arriving one after the other, all showing the same or very similar parts, adding credibility to the rumours. Scroll down to the bottom of this story to see the photographs.

iPhone mini will be plastic not aluminium

Based on several reports and lots of leaked images, it seems certain that the iPhone 5C will be made from plastic to cut costs.

iPhone 5C will run apps from the Cloud

One interesting suggestion is that Apple will save on storage space by releasing an iPhone 5C with little, or no storage, that is designed to run apps and other content straight from the cloud.

Apple's iTunes Match service has demonstrated that Apple is capable of streaming music, and other content, directly to iOS devices.

It's not a massive leap to move from music and video to apps. Like iTunes Match the iPhone 5C could use minimal storage to keep Apple apps in onboard RAM, and load other apps as it requires them from the cloud. This may sound suspiciously spotty, but the launch of 4G/LTE ensures more reliable data transfer.

Pegatron will build Apple's iPhone 5C as company looks to diversify supply chain

Apple is said to be looking to rely less heavily on its main manufacturing partner, Foxconn, following production problems that took place during the roll out of the iPhone 5. Instead, the company is reportedly turning to Pegatron to assemble some of its next-generation of devices, including the budget iPhone, in a bid for "risk diversification".

These rumours were fuelled by the announcement that Pegatron plans to increase the number of workers at its plant in China by up to 40% in the second half of this year. 

iPhone 5C will be 4G/LTE

If the iPhone 5C has a cellular connection, it will almost certainly have a 4G/LTE connection. Although it may seem an obvious way to cut cost and introduce differentiation Apple has shown with the iPad mini that it wants 4G/LTE on all devices that offer it.

The iPhone 5C will have Gorilla Glass 3 to prevent scratches

Corning has developed a new version of its Gorilla Glass for smartphones and tablets that it says will result in 40 per cent fewer scratchs and appear in devices later this year, possibly including Apple's iPhone 6 (or 5S), iPad 5, iPad mini 2 and iPhone Lite.

iPhone 5C will run iOS 7

This rumour is pretty much guaranteed to be true. If Apple launches an iPhone 5C in 2013, that is. Apple unveiled iOS 7 at WWDC 2013 in June, with a complete user interface redesign. It's set to roll out to iOS devices in autumn.

Low-cost iPhone to use Snapdragon chip

Reports say that Apple's rumoured low-cost iPhone could use Qualcomm's Snapdragon mobile system on a chip (SoC). There are two 28nm-based classes of Snapdragon that offer a cellular modem, WiFi and Bluetooth. The use of an all-in-one platform could save on component costs for the rumoured low-cost handset.

iPhone 5C price

The iPhone 5C will be Apple's mid-level iPhone

The iPhone 5C could actually be launched as Apple's mid-level iPhone, rather than a low-end budget iPhone as previously expected. That's according to KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who says that the iPhone 5C will take the place of the iPhone 5, making the line-up iPhone 5S, iPhone 5C and iPhone 4S.

He thinks that the iPhone 5C will cost between $400 and $500, which is around £250 to £320.

Other guesses of the price of the iPhone 5C have been varied, with some analysts predicting a sub-£200 price tag, but others suggesting a price closer to the £300 mark. Tactus thinks the iPhone 5C will be available for £229 in the UK.

See:

Pricing a low-cost iPhone: How 'cheap' is cheap?

How low will Apple go on the iPhone 5C?

Apple's low-cost iPhone could outsell iPhone 5S in 2014, says analyst

iPhone 5C video

You can watch a video that proports to show the iPhone 5C running iOS 7 here

New iPhone 5C leaked photos and images

On 2 September we reported that a number of new iPhone 5C images had leaked online. There is even a guide book. 

The photographs include multiple iPhone 5Cs in their packaging.

The images suggest that the phone may be available to launch even sooner than 20 September. 

Here is the iPhone 5C manual: 

At the end of July, a photograph that appears to show packaging destined for the low-cost iPhone suggested that the new smartphone would be called the 'iPhone 5C',, rather than iPhone Lite or iPhone mini as it had previously been dubbed. The C could stand for Colour, according to speculation.

In August, the iPhone 5C was pictured in several photographs and videos, including the ones shown below. All of these images are believed to be of leaked iPhone 5C components.

In April, Tactus shared the photo below, which is purported to show the back of a white iPhone Lite.

This leaked image from blog Techdy closely resembles the previously leaked components.

In July, a video review based on the leaked plastic iPhone Lite chassis was published (below).

In September, photographs of what is claimed to be an iPhone 5C logic board emerged online, as shown below.

We will keep this article updated with any further rumours and information regarding the launch of a cheaper, smaller, iPhone Lite device. 

See also:

Apple in 2013: Apple's plans for the iPad and iPhone

Should I buy an iPhone 5 or wait for iPhone 5S?

Apple's Cook resets 3 popular, and wrong, Apple rumours

Will Apple keep selling iPhone 5 when iPhone 5S comes out?

Cut-rate iPhones? They're already here