Is This A Patent For The 'Budget' iPhone?

It's a rumour that never dies: Apple is working on a cheaper, "budget" iPhone that will push for market-share in developing markets where the companies typically premium are especially expensive. But in the absence of hard evidence, we have soft evidence. Like this patent for a plastic iPhone. Maybe this is that rumoured budget iPhone? Maybe?

An astonishingly spare patent, — I mean, look at that graphic — number No. 8,364,032 here was filed for in February 2012, and was just granted in late January of this year. Essentially, it covers a device with a front-facing screen, rear-facing camera, and a body made out of plastic. You'll also note there's no home button.

How this patent wasn't already snatched during the development of one of the many Android phones that seem to fit this description to a T is anyone's guess. But if there were to be a cheaper iPhone, one in the $US100-$150 range, it makes sense that it would take a form similar to this.

Then again, patents like this are just that: patents. But if a cheap iPhone really is coming, this might have something to do with it. Maybe. We'll just have to wait and see. [Tom's Hardware]

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