An undercover operation undertaken by China Labor Watch has all-but confirmed that production of a low-cost, plastic-backed iPhone model is under way. The organisation initially went into Chinese manufacturer Pegatron to investigate alleged labour rights violations. However, the report also subsequently revealed that workers in its plants have been working on plastic casing for an Apple smartphone.
"[The factory's] assembled products include iPhone 4, iPhone 4s, iPhone 5, and low-priced plastic iPhones," says the extensive report.
One of the undercover reporters also explains how he/she was tasked with working on the plastic rear shells for a future device.
"Today's work is to paste protective film on the iPhone's plastic back cover to prevent it from being scratched on assembly lines. This iPhone model with a plastic cover will soon be released on the market by Apple," the investigator wrote in a diary.
"The task is pretty easy, and I was able to work independently after a five-minute instruction from a veteran employee. It took around a minute to paste protective film on one rear cover. The new cell phone has not yet been put into mass production, so quantity is not as important. This makes our job more slow-paced than in departments that have begun mass production schedules."
Pictures have been appearing online of an allegedly budget iPhone for a while now. A video of what is claimed to be the entire rear casing has also been posted, and a picture of purported packaging for the device has leaked, suggesting the name for the new phone will be iPhone 5C.