Whether Apple will release a budget iPhone this year is subject to no small amount of debate, but it seems almost certain that the company is at least testing one out. That's why this rumoured cheap iPhone shell, published by Tactus, could very well be legit. Whether it actually makes it into stores is another question altogether.
According to Tactus, the plastic shell is 0.4-0.6mm thick, which implies a device that's both a little wider and a little taller than the iPhone 4/4S. It's also rumoured to come with a 5MP camera, a 3.5-inch retina display, an A5 chip, and colour options of the black, white, blue, yellow and blue variety.
Are we looking at the actual real-deal budget iPhone shell? There's plenty of reason to be sceptical. While the image above certainly looks like it would fit in with Apple's product line, it could also very easily just be a mock-up based on previous rumours. Tactus is, after all, a case maker, so it makes sense that it would have its own dummy prototypes lying around. And that it would try to drum up a little business for itself by making headlines.
But, ultimately, none of that might matter. Even if this isn't the exact iPhone shell, it's almost certainly a good approximation, if the many, many rumours are near their target. More importantly though, the question of what a budget iPhone looks like could well be a moot point. Is Apple experimenting with one? Of course. But that doesn't mean it will release it. Especially when its current model is one of the most popular consumer products in recent history.
So let's take this for what it is: a look at what a cheaper iPhone might look like, if it exists. And a reminder that it may well not. [Tactus via MacRumors]