Chinese labor conditions watchdog confirms that Apple’s low-cost iPhone will be made of plastic

by: Gary SimsJuly 30, 2013

Apple Logo iPad 2 1600A new report published by the China Labor Watch, an NGO based in New York that is tasked with highlighting workers’ rights issues in China, has confirmed that Apple is working on a low-cost version of the iPhone, which will have a plastic case.

While profiling a Chinese factory belonging to the Pegatron Group, the report mentions that Pegatron (Shanghai) Ltd Co. assembles cell phones and tablets for Apple including the iPhone 5 and “low-priced plastic iPhones.” It also repeatedly confirms the existence of the low-cost iPhone as it analyses the conditions at the Pegatron factory. For example, “It primarily manufactures the iPhone for Apple and is currently manufacturing the soon-to be-released cheap iPhone.”

There are several key passages which reveal that Apple will be making a cheap plastic iPhone but as yet it isn’t in full production. One reads:

[quote qtext=”During the period of our investigation, Pegatron Shanghai had begun producing the cheap iPhone. Because this new iPhone product is evidently in the early stages of coming to market, some of the production lines for the cheap iPhones are only carrying out low production quotas. ” qperson=”” qsource=”” qposition=”center”]

While another says:

[quote qtext=”Today’s work is to paste protective film on the iPhone’s plastic back cover to prevent it from being scratched on assembly lines. This iPhone model with a plastic cover will soon be released on the market by Apple… The new cell phone has not yet been put into mass production…” qperson=”” qsource=”” qposition=”center”]

Other than revealing the tidbits about the new iPhone, which is rumored to be called the iPhone 5C, the report isn’t very complimentary about the working conditions in the factory or the salary received by the workers, but that is a whole different discussion!

So here is the question, would a cheaper iPhone model tempt you to jump from Android to iOS?

  • Jack Parker

    Because its apple, I reckon itll have a 3.5/4.0″ display at 800×480, 512mb ram and a single core processor, a 5mp camera and they’ll charge something ridiculous like £300 or $450

    For the same price you can get a nexus 4 or even a Huawei Ascend P6..

    • End in sight

      I bet you are right.

  • Valtheus

    I have come to android from iOS. I don’t know if i wanna go back just because there is a cheaper offer from Apple. Plus i consider that iOS 7 got nothing impressive compared to android. Also i hate the new UI. I am not 100% sure but i think i will stick with my galaxy even if the cheaper iPhone comes.

    • Piyush

      use before you bash

      • Valtheus

        Think before you troll!

  • Luka Mlinar

    When i hear “Chinese labor” and “Apple” in the same sentence, first thing that come to mind is Foxconn and the controversy surrounding their labor.
    There was another way i could have put that but there is always a fear of a possible lawsuit when commenting both Apple and Scientology. The world we live in :/

    • Faran

      are you a scientologist

      • Luka Mlinar

        Of course not. Don’t be silly :)

  • Mochammad Santaka

    I’m not sure if cheaper iPhones will win them back market shares. But I’m pretty sure it’ll ruin their premium image.

    • Luka Mlinar

      Hmm, this is a good point.

    • Faran

      Yes they have already lost there market share but many users still buy there products because of there premium image but now they are going to lose both

    • Bryan Z

      I highly doubt that I mean truth of the fact here is that people like us that comment on “news” don’t really know the numbers and true causes for a company like this case to make a “low cost” made of plastic iPhone, But we’ll see Apple’s premium image is not only base on iPhones but also on Macbook Pros, iMacs, iPads etc…

  • MasterMuffin

    Android phones are cheap plastic phones

    – typical iUser

    I want to hear their thoughts about this, should be interesting :)

    • Valtheus

      iPhone 3 and 3GS was plastic and to me it didn’t feel cheap at all.

      Those idiot fanboys buy their non-plastic, premium, sparkly iPhones and cover them with plastic protecting covers. How dump is that?

      • MasterMuffin

        True dat

        It’s dump. I’d cover my iPhone in gold xD

      • Apple_Nexus

        I didn’t like the plastic iPhones. Felt cheap and ultimately broke.

        • Valtheus

          You are saying that iPhone 4 and 5 are more durable than the plastic models?

          • lamina

            well, yeah, if your put on hot kitchen stove :D
            I’m sure plastic will melt faster than aluminum + glass :D

          • Piyush

            Yup IPHONE 3G and 3GS had hard plastic material which are great in quality but are breakable also.

          • Valtheus

            I didn’t ask you, but since you bothered to answer, still you don’t answer my question! I didn’t ask about the quality of iPhone plastic models.

      • Piyush

        everyone who buys iphone are idiot, what an idiotic comment makes android users like ANDROIDsheep. no onetold plastic is bad but samsung uses very low quality plastic which doesnt at all give great look to device, look at lumia device they are made of plastic but there quality so much better than samsung.

        • Valtheus

          You consider my comment idiotic but you probably think yours is smart… whatever makes you happy dude! I responded to an idiotic comment: that “android phones are cheap plastic phones”. Where do you see in my message calling all iPhone users idiots? I specifically called idiots, the ones that buy a non plastic iPhone, cover it with a plastic case so they won’t break it, and then trash the quality of android devices. And did i talk specifically about Samsung??? :/

          Obviously you are an iPhone user that keeps it in a plastic case, thats why you got offended. You may consider my comment idiotic, but i assure you i am not an idiot! So stop trolling on my comments!

    • Bryan Z

      lol yup I’ve heard this before

  • Saul Viayra

    Nop I will not

  • spade

    No, i don’t think that low-cost iPhone will be cheaper either…just No!

  • Jim

    It will ruin their image, plus no one would want the el cheepo iphone

  • shawn

    I own a galaxy s4 and the answer to your question is no. I wouldn’t switch. The only time price becomes a significant issue to me is if the specs or capabilities are similar. And right now- the galaxy s4 offers so much more. Live wallpapers, universal tv remote control, 13mega pixel camera (vs iphone5 8mega pixel). If the iphone had an insane camera on it or the ability to turn itself into an overhead projector of some sort, I would consider switching. With the uses of cases nowadays, the shell of the phone is almost non-important.

    • Anonymous

      Hmmm…btw IPHONE build quality are better than samsung. HTC,IPHONE,NOKIA are the best body build,solid,tough and durable…

      • rabidhunter

        If the build quality is so much better, why do they have to crawl back to Samsung for chips and displays? Apple be like, “We’re going to sue you for all we can get, but we still need you to make our stuff becuase we lack to innovation to make our own.”

    • Piyush

      s4 specs scores are fake

  • ray

    it’s the crappy IOS which would never make me go to buy Apple again- has nothing to do with the Price – their hardware is not really the bad part its the Operating system which lets a windows phone appear smart again ….love my android tablet & smartphone

    • End in sight

      If Apple were to build a phone that ran Android, I would buy it…just to see if the hardware is worth it for me.

  • iSheep

    Once iPhone 5C debuts on the market I can see all these nuclear threads coming…to Android portals. Tim cannot even imagine how much joy he is going to give you guys at the upcoming keynote and afterwards. All these reviews, hands offs, I mean hands ons, … priceless ;)

    Nothing is certain. No one has held this iPhone in his hands, but a negative opinion is already here. How nice. At the end of the day, this is only a piece of hardware like a fridge. Yes, yes. All those fights are so funny: “no, your plastic fridge has more plastic than mine”, “my fridge is faster than yours”, “I can root my fridge – you cannot do this with yours!”.

    Anyway, I am going to line up for iPhone 5S as SGN II is a disappointment. I know…this blows yours minds. But the thing is that I do not need all these widgets, launchers and other toys to use my phone comfortably. Maybe Android 5.x will attract the ordinary customers with something else than a low price.

    Please look carefully at a number of sold iPhones 5C. Unlimited customization is not what a casual customer needs. And here 5C steps in.

    • stones

      and why you even here ?
      spare me the drama.

      • iSheep

        Spare me explaining that if you do not see a correlation between this portal and an iPhone related news.

        • BillyGoatsGruff3


    • John-Phillip Saayman

      How can you even compare a Galaxy note 2 with an unreleased iPhone

      • iSheep

        No need to compare. I used 4 and 4S and I have a few colleagues using 5. After almost a year with SGN II I am certain that Android is not for me. The device itself is perfect unlike Android and Google ecosystem. On the other hand my wife is pleased with SGS III. It is all a matter of needs and personal satisfaction.

  • End in sight

    I use Android. BUT, I really want to commend Apple for this wise business decision. See, in the US, Apple phones do really well, but not so in other places. The cheap iPhone will be great for China, India and Africa. I really think Apple has a chance to win back some global marketshare.

    The ENORMOUS news is that this is a huge shift in their business model. Even the nickname of “cheap iPhone” is unfortunate for them as it is directly opposite of what they have been focusing on for years. But now Tim C. is in charge and he is doing something that I believe Jobs would never have done. But it will be good for the firm. They need to get more people using their software if they want to stay competitive.

    Here is my prediction: within two years, Apple will build one of their phones running Android. AND, they will at that time also have a phone with dual boot Android option.

    The big problem for Apple is still their Mac OS and the fact that they can’t compete with Widows outside of the US. They really need a solution for that if they are going to sell their ecosystem to the third world. I mean if you have an iPhone, it works so much better if you also have a Mac. But who can afford a Mac in India?

    • End in sight

      Oh…But if the coming cheap iPhone has crappy specs, forget it. Apple will have shot itself in the foot.

      • Piyush

        that still upto par with competition.

  • rabidhunter

    If I wanted Samsung spare parts, I’m going to just buy a Samsung phone.

  • John-Phillip Saayman

    The answer is:

  • Bryan Z

    I don’t even think this “low cost iPhone” is going to be targeted to the US market… I’m pretty sure it’s going to be targeted to the Chinese, Indian and Latin America market.