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If the photo above is to be believed, the casing for Apple’s budget iPhone may have just leaked out and given us a taste of what to expect in a couple of months. It’s been rumored for a while that Apple was working on a low-cost iPhone to sell alongside its more premium devices and it looks like someone — either Apple or a third-party case manufacturer — has let the multicolored cat out of the bag.

The iPhone 4S could be shown the door if a budget iPhone comes along to occupy the lower tier.
The iPhone 4S could be shown the door if a budget iPhone comes along to occupy the lower tier.

As you can see in the image, shared by Apple Daily, the leaked casings come in a variety of different colors: red, yellow, white, blue and green are shown in subdued shades that seem to match some of the colors used in Apple’s heavily redesigned iOS 7. The shells appear to be plastic, which would bring the cost of manufacturing down when compared to the aluminum shell of the iPhone 5 and the glass casings of the iPhone 4S and 4.

The shots don’t tell us a lot about what could be inside the budget iPhone, but it does look like these are 4-inch devices that will pack a rear-facing camera and LED flash, just as the previous three iPhone models.

So why introduce a low-cost iPhone now? It’s a question asked by many, especially since Apple has generally gone the route of discounting the previous two iPhone generations when introducing a new model. If that tradition were to continue, we could expect the 4S to go for free with a new two-year contract, while the iPhone 5 would sell at $99. But I don’t expect the iPhone 4S will be a part of the lineup once the 5S arrives. SlashGear’s Chris Davis wrote a great article on this very topic, and it boils down to screen size. It makes sense for Apple to get everyone on a standard screen size — eliminating the iPhone 4S and replacing it with a 4-inch budget iPhone is the quickest way to do it.

If this is the route Apple goes, by the way, it’ll be the first time since the iPhone 4S was the flagship device that all three iPhones on sale will have the same screen size. A lot has been said about Android’s fragmentation problem, but developers have had to support a couple of different devices with two different screen sizes for the past year. Many will be happy to push the 3.5-inch iPhones toward retirement.

We’ll update you if we hear anything else about the budget iPhone. In the meantime, what do you think of the color lineup? Drop us a line below.

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