SAN FRANCISCO — Speculation is rising that one of the next models of Apple Inc.'s iPhone will feature a plastic rather than metal case.
Rumors about a budget plastic iPhone have been spreading since January, when Apple advertised for a manufacturing design engineer with knowledge of advanced plastic tooling and processes.
Now industry insiders predict that the entry-level device will be launched midway through 2013 and will feature a lower resolution screen that the current generation phones and also cheaper electronics components.
"The low-end iPhone will have the same 4-inch form factor as the iPhone5 but will have plastic casing and no retina display," said San Francisco-based RBC Capital Markets analyst Amit Daryanani, in a recent research report. "With a lower price-point, Apple will be able to target a growing and important part of the Smartphone market (sub-$400 price-band)," he wrote.