Don't Hold Your Breath for 'iPhone 5C'

The rumored cheap iPhone just got itself a rumored name: The iPhone 5C.

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The rumored cheap iPhone just got itself a rumored name: The iPhone 5C. After pictures emerged of plastic retail packaging with the name "iPhone 5C" stamped across it, Business Insider's Jay Yarow has a second-hand source confirming that name. "Our source doesn't work at Apple, but is connected to someone inside the company who confirmed the name," writes Yarow. "So, this is second hand, but we feel confident after talking to our source that it's accurate."

Considering how secretive Apple is with its products, supposedly keeping them locked up inside special rooms for the eyes of people sworn to secrecy, it's hard to believe that a friend of a guy that works inside has any legitimate knowledge of the rumored cheap iPhone. Because of that, most of the rumors come out of the supply chain, rather than Apple headquarters, with the watchful eye all the way across an ocean. Some guy who knows some guy isn't generally how things slip out.

Of course, as with many Apple rumors, if you think about it hard enough this 5C name could make sense. The rumor mill has talked up this so-called budget smartphone for months now, with many major media outlets assuring us that it's coming this fall along with an upgraded iPhone 5, which, if Apple follows their previous naming convention for the upgraded iPhone 4, would is expected to be called the iPhone 5S. Just today, in fact, the mongers (embarrassingly) found another hint of the cheaper iPhone's existence in the China Labor Watch report on Apple manufacturer Pegatron, which detailed some of the products at the facilities investigated: "Its assembled products include iPhone 4, iPhone 4s, iPhone 5, and low-priced plastic iPhones," reads the report. Later on, it talks about workers pasting on "the iPhone’s plastic back cover to prevent it from being scratched on assembly lines."

So, you know, the C in iPhone 5C could stand for cheapola. But doesn't that sound like the worst marketing idea of all time? Even if a low-cost iPhone comes out this fall, Apple might not want its consumers thinking of it as the "cheap" choice. But, rather, as a quality — but affordable — smartphone.

On the other hand, maybe Apple will choose C for color. Yarow's source also said that the leaked images of a chintzy color-version of the cheap iPhone are just about right. That's very hard to believe, considering those images have been incredibly ugly and also, again, Yarow's source sounds less than believable. Various major media outlets have mentioned colors as an option for the low-cost phone. So, the C could stand for that. But then people would still associate the C with cheap, which has a more pejorative connotation than Apple probably wants.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.