Cheaper iPhones on the Way? A New Apple Patent May Point to That

“Cheaper iPhones are on the way!” is the shout that many websites whose authors claim to be in the know are raising. But is a less expensive iPhone really on the way? A patent that was recently awarded to Apple may point in that direction.

Patent No. 8,364,032, recently approved by the United States Patent and Trademark Office, was awarded on January 29, 2013, having been filed in February of 2012. The “principal inventors” are Apple engineers Chong Yip Chow, Hongqin Zhang, Shizhe Shen and Michael DiVincent.

iPhone fans may be startled by the revelation that this latest iPhone patent reflects a model of our beloved device that is bereft of a home button and front-facing camera.  Pic snappers will be delighted to know that a rear-facing camera appears to remain intact.

The patent addresses the controversial rumor that plastic may be used in the formation of the latest device, pointing out that glass, of course, can be used, but “[it] should be appreciated, however, that other transparent materials such as clear plastic can be used.”

In addition to the plastic, Apple stated in the patent application that a wide variety of “protective covers” can be used for the iPhone device, which is even to this day wrongfully referred to as the “i Phone” by many misguided consumers.

This plastic case would, according to Apple, be a “light isolating protective cover for small form factor electronic device.”

We could soon see a cheaper, less superior iPhone, clearly designed for those seeking a cheap thrill.

Indeed, based on this patent, it looks as though the iPhone as we know it–like the iPhone 4 or the iPhone 5–could be over, at least as far as an exclusive design.

[via: Tom's Hardware]

Image Credit: Tom’s Hardware/USPTO