The wait is almost over. The rumor mill has been churning up tales of a low-cost iPhone, often dubbed “iPhone mini,” since shortly after the original iPhone debuted in 2007. While it doesn’t look like there will be anything “mini” about Apple’s upcoming iPhone 5C, which is shaping up to actually be a bit larger than the flagship iPhone 5S model, we’ve seen enough leaks at this point to have a pretty good idea of what’s coming during Tuesday’s press conference.
The first and most significant difference between the iPhone 5C and its flagship counterpart is the case, which is expected to be made of plastic. This will be the first time Apple releases a plastic iPhone since the iPhone 3GS launched in 2009. The 5C looks nothing like the 3GS did however, ditching the concave back for a flatter design. In terms of size, photo and video comparisons suggest the handset will be slightly thicker than the iPhone 5S.
According to dozens of leaks, the iPhone 5C will launch in five colors: white, yellow, green, pink and blue. It will not be made available in black. Here’s a video showcasing purported iPhone 5C housings in each of the five colors we are expecting.
In terms of specs, we’re likely looking at something very similar to what Apple offers today in the iPhone 5. Rumors suggest the iPhone 5C will feature a 4-inch Retina display, the same dual-core Apple processor found in the iPhone 5, 1GB of RAM, an 8-megapixel camera and 16/32/64GB storage options.
Of course the most important thing about the iPhone 5C is also the biggest question mark: the price.
Rumors over the past few months have varied by a huge range, though the most recent reports seem to point to pricing somewhere around $400 before subsidies. While that would represent a steep discount compared to the iPhone 5′s $650 base price, it wouldn’t even approach many low-end Android phones that now sell for under $100 off-contract in emerging markets.
A price tag of around $400 would definitely make Apple’s new iPhone more accessible in several key markets like China though, and with rumors suggesting that the next-generation iPhones will finally be carried by China Mobile, a solid budget offering will be more important than ever. That price range will also make the phone free on contract in the United States, so we likely won’t see Apple hang onto the iPhone 4S for another year.
Following its unveiling on Tuesday, Apple’s new iPhone 5C is expected to launch on September 20th alongside the iPhone 5S.