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Sep 26, 2011

Clear-Back 'iPhone 5' Cases Depict Relocated Hardware Switch, Tapered Back

A new set of alleged iPhone 5 cases marketed by an online merchant site appears to indicate there will be a relocation of the hardware-switch button, and a tapered back shell akin to that of the iPad 2.

Advertised in three versions - “Air Series”, the “2.0 Cover”, and an “Ex-Sleek” case - the accessories all tell the same story, as in the iPhone 5 will have a completely redesigned body.

Falling in line with most rumors about the next-generation Apple handset, these cases show a tapered back that is almost identical in form to the back side of the much-larger iPad 2.

A wide (though not very large) opening can be seen on the right side of the case (when viewed front-side) which suggests Apple is relocating the mute on-off toggle.

On the iPad, this physical switch is also programmable, allowing users to toggle between mute and lock-orientation functions.

And while most people agree Apple is on track to unveil not one, but two new iPhone models this year, Wedge Partners analyst Brian Blair isn't convinced.

According to one of his recent research notes, his firm doesn’t believe Apple needs one.

"We don't expect a second, dramatically different iPhone to accompany (the iPhone 5) as we don't think Apple needs to have three models in the market to address the high end, mid-tier and low end since the iPhone 4 (with memory lowered to 8 GB) will drop to $99 and effectively attack those markets," Blair wrote last week.

His reasoning is that “A 4S would simply cost more and a 4S itself wouldn't create a mid-tier market unless it was priced at $99 and the iPhone 4 went to $49 with the new iPhone at $199. We see this scenario as unlikely.”

The analyst also doesn’t buy rumors of a major redesign for the iPhone 5, which contradicts the scenario implied by the aforementioned third-party iPhone cases.

"We believe the casing will be largely similar to the iPhone with some particular modifications to the antennae," Blair wrote.


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