iPhone 5 cases evidence of thinner new phone?

A slew of iPhone 5 cases reportedly being produced in China show a thin design for the upcoming iPhone, similar to that of an iPod Touch.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney
2 min read
Will the iPhone 5 be thinner than the iPhone 4?
Will the iPhone 5 be thinner than the iPhone 4? Verizon Wireless

iPhone 5 cases flooding the Chinese market reportedly reveal a thin design for Apple's new Phone, as thin as an iPod Touch.

Pointing to products being sold by online vendor Alibaba and other Chinese retailers, tech enthusiast site M.I.C. Gadget claims that the new cases are everywhere and that "only an iPhone that is as thin as an iPod touch could fit in these cases perfectly."

Beyond offering the thinner design, the new cases also point to the new iPhone being wider and longer, the mute switch moved to the other side, and the overall form factor tapered with rounded edges more similar to that of the iPod Touch.

Though this sounds like yet another iPhone rumor to be taken with a heaping grain of salt, The Next Web says that the cases have a similar design but come from different manufacturers and sources, so they could be based on "accurate patterns" that have already been sent to iPhone 5 accessory makers.

Similar case designs leaked in July uncovered a thinner design for the new iPhone. And in June, drawings based on reports at This is My Next showed similar "big" changes.

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And in yet another potential clue that the iPhone 5 might sport a brand new design, an icon of the iPhone found in the latest beta of Apple's Photo Stream product shows a bigger screen and an elongated home button, according to 9to5Mac. The design of the icon follows earlier rumors that the new iPhone would come equipped with a larger screen and elongated home button.

This clue definitely sounds like a stretch, though, since the icon's description mentions the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad. So the icon could be designed to try to generically represent all three devices, and not just the iPhone 5.

Taken together or separately, both the new Chinese iPhone cases and the revamped icon aren't exactly substantial evidence of a new design for the iPhone. Some reports have insisted that the next iPhone will launch as a minor upgrade to the iPhone 4 with a few changes but the same basic features. However, as The Next Web points out, it seems unlikely Apple would wait 18 months to release a new iPhone, only to introduce one that is "basically identical to the current model."