More iPhone 5 knock-offs spotted in China

With a little over a month to go before most pundits reckon the iPhone 5 will hit the shelves, it's open season on Apple's forthcoming update to the ubiquitous handset, especially in China's back-street fake factories.

Online retail outfit Taobao is knocking out the dodgy knock-off gadgets purporting to be based on Apple design specs leaked by case manufacturers for as little as $33 according to a report in China's Metro Express paper unearthed by Reuters.

Apparently, $33 will buy you the basic model which is even nastier and even plastickier (yes we know that's not a real word) than the $132 version which comes in pink and red as well as more traditional Apple-style black or white livery.

The HiPhone looks a bit like the love-child of an iPhone 3 and an iPhone 4 with curved edges rather than the pesky brushed metal rim which caused the Cupertino company so much grief when it turned out that holding it the wrong way made the carrier signal drop alarmingly.

China is a bit like the wild west when it comes to intellectual property with designs of secret toys regularly being flogged off to the highest bidder despite the best efforts of companies like Apple to enforce its legendary secrecy.

Even so, if the real iPhone 5 looks anything like this old tat we'll eat our fake Burberry hat.