The rumors about a low-cost iPhone have been circulating for a while but, recently, the watchdog group, China Labor Watch, was able to confirm that the cheaper device is being partially manufactured in China.

According to the report, the workers are pasting “protective film on the iPhone’s plastic back cover to prevent it from being scratched on assembly lines.”

It goes on to say: “This iPhone model with a plastic cover will soon be released on the market by Apple. The new cellphone has not yet been put into mass production, so quantity is not as important.”

While unconfirmed, the more affordable model, which is being dubbed the iPhone 5C, is believed to feature a 3.5-inch retina display, an A5 processor and a plastic shell in a variety of colors.

There have been some grainy images of the device floating around the internet but, now, high quality pictures have cropped up on SonnyDickson.com and it looks like … a plastic iPhone.  The one thing that is good about the photo gallery is that they show the ports and input areas/holes that will likely be on the new phone.

If any of this is true, and based on the photographic evidence it is, the timing couldn’t be better for Apple.  The once all-powerful corporation is starting to show signs of wear and tear in the absence of founder, Steve Jobs, who died of cancer almost two years ago.  Many wondered what would come of Apple without his vision and driving force and, now, the changes are starting to show.

Android and Windows have really gained in market share in the absence of new product announcements from Apple.  Additionally, the sale of tablets has steadily decreased without a new iPad on the horizon. However, the arrival of a new iPhone and a revamped iOS later this year should improve Apple’s outlook.

For these reasons, a cheaper version of an iPhone could really help Apple gain some momentum and renew interest in the products.  This could really be attractive to parents who love the brand but cannot afford (or are unwilling to pay) to get a regular iPhone for their children.  Plus, the colorful plastic cases will be appealing to younger buyers, including the all-important college crowd.

Would you be interested in checking out the iPhone 5C?  Would you be more likely to buy one for your child if you had this low-cost option?

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