A new China Labor Watch report not only details the working conditions at Apple’s Pegatron suppliers, but it also seemingly confirms that the long-rumored plastic iPhone indeed exists. The report includes some details on the manufacturing process, but also mentions that the phone is not yet in mass production.
“Apple is preparing to release a cheap iPhone,” the report’s introduction states. In Pegatron’s company profile, the Labor Watch document describes the facility by saying the following: “Pegatron primarily assembles cell phones and tablet PCs for Apple. Its assembled products include [the] iPhone 4, iPhone 5S, iPhone 5 and low-priced plastic iPhones.”
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The low-cost iPhone, which has yet to be confirmed by Apple, makes another appearance on page 27.
“Today’s work is to paste protective film on the iPhone’s plastic back cover to prevent it from being scratched on assembly lines,” reads the document in a section that outlines a standard day for workers at Pegatron. “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, so quantity is not as important.”
While the alleged low-cost iPhone can’t be confirmed until Apple makes an announcement, it certainly adds a little more credence to rumors that have been circulating for months. The China Labor Watch is a non-profit organization that has been operating for 13 years with offices in New York and China. The organization often publishes first-person style pieces based on accounts given by various Chinese factory workers it has interviewed.
What’s more, Japanese website Macotakara reported last month that Pegatron Chairman TH Tung seemed to hint that the purported plastic iPhone would fall in the mid-range category rather than budget. “The price is fairly high,” he reportedly said in reference to the plastic iPhone.
Still, there’s always a chance that these units could be prototypes that won’t make it to the market, although purported rumors and leaks are becoming more convincing by the day. Just a few days ago alleged photos of the retail packaging for Apple’s plastic iPhone surfaced online. Rumors suggest that Apple will unveil its next iPhone in September around the same time the iPhone 5 was unveiled, but Apple has yet to utter a word about its plans.