A new report surfacing from the Vietnamese forum Tinhte claims that the site has received a prototype of a newer, cheaper model of the iPhone 4. The site notes that the device is similar to the iPhone 4, with the front and rear casing being made from plastic rather than glass.
Tinhte have show themselves to be a moderately reliable source in the past, revealing the white plastic MacBook before it was released, as well as an pre-release engineering sample of a white iPhone 4.
While the news may sound interesting, there are a number of reasons that it simply doesn’t make sense. First, it seems extremely unlikely that a prototype of an unreleased iPhone could be jailbroken with existing tools. In addition, the front and back casing of the alleged “lite” iPhone 4 are suspiciously similar to after-market “white iPhone 4” conversion kits already available.
Furthermore, the antenna appears identical to that of the GSM iPhone 4, separating in exactly the same spots. This seems rather unlikely for a device that will likely support both Verizon and AT&T (and possibly additional networks) at launch.
Further, as I’ve said on numerous occasions, it just doesn’t make sense for Apple to release a new “budget” iPhone 4 when they could simply dramatically lower the price on the iPhone 3GS and serve the same customers for far less money, avoiding the costs of designing and producing a new product. Further, many reports agree that Apple will, in fact, being doing just that – offering the iPhone 3GS for $350 with no contract, or cheap/free with a new 2-year contract.
In short, despite Tinhte’s fairly decent reputation with rumors in the past, this one just doesn’t seem to make much sense in any dimension.