Cheaper iPhone to use plastic instead of glass, due later this year?

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Another day, another rumor about what we may or may not be seeing in Apple’s next handset. It seems like all the talk this time around is being dominated not by the usual high end phone that we’re so accustomed to, but the possibility of a cheaper phone that would accompany it. One way Apple might be planning to keep its price down? Plastic instead of glass.

According to Digitimes supply chain sources, a new entry-level iPhone would adopt plastic for use in its chassis rather than the current mix of glass and aluminum that we see in Apple’s current phones. They’re also citing other circulating rumors that suggest a “chassis mixed with plastic and metal, with the internal metal parts being able to be seen from outside through special design”. This low-cost iPhone would supposedly come to market in the second half of 2013.

If Apple were to use plastic again, even on a phone that is meant to be more accessible, they would have to implement it carefully. After getting people so used to the iPhone’s glass and aluminum “feel,” there’s a danger that it might end up just feeling cheap, which I’m sure they would never want. As a fan of the current design, I truly hope they don’t skimp on material just to bring the price down this time. But who knows — they might need to.

[via MacRumors]

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  • Ashraf

    @naveed: Your point is valid about the scratches. I agree.

  • @Ashraf:

    We are sort of saying the same thing. Most phones from whatever company break when dropped. That’s a given. A plastic phone will probably not break as easily as a glass phone.

    But, my point was more about scratches. Iphones scratch simply by putting them in your pocket and taking them out. When they move to plastic this will become worse, as plastic inherently scratches far more easily than glass.

  • Ashraf

    @Strahd: What do u mean haze?
    @naveed: There are pros and cons to both, of course, but I thought we were discussing breakability. In any case, I think we are both trying to say the same thing.
    @naveed: It is funny because I hear mixed report and iPhone. Some reports say it is strong glass while others say it isn’t. Quality control FTL?

  • @Enrique: Samsung’s, LG’s and HTC’s higher end phones use glass screens too, but they don’t crack or scratch as easily as iPhones, from what I’ve seen, despite the youtube video that posted here once.

  • @Ashraf:

    Plastic screens are not as brittle as glass, but scratch very easily.

  • Strahd

    I could be wrong, but don’t most, if not all, plastics eventually haze up?

  • Ashraf

    @naveed: I’m not sure I follow your logic. Plastic, by design, is more resilient than glass. I don’t see why it would be worse.

  • Enrique

    @naveed: Shouldn’t it be the other way around? All the talk of cracked iPhones only started when they switched to glass.

  • @Ashraf:

    I’m not saying plastic is bad by itself. I’ve had Samsung phones and they were far more resilient than Apple ones. I’m saying that if Apple’s glass phones were delicate, their plastic ones would be even worse.

  • Ashraf

    @naveed: Not necessarily. Samsung uses plastic on its phones and they are fairly good quality.

  • I’ve tried the iPhone 3GS and 4 which were made of glass. They were so delicate that they would get scratched if you looked at them the wrong way.

    I can only imagine how delicate this one would be. It probably spontaneously degenerates.