The Cupertino-based company has been awarded a patent which depicts and describes a smartphone that has no home button or front-facing camera.
According to the filing, first unearthed by Tomshardware and labelled 8,364,032, made to the United States Patent & Trademark Office by Apple, the device which is very likely to be a variant of the current iPhone 5, will come with a clear plastic body.
The patent describes the product as follows: "A portable device has a rear facing camera assembly and a front facing display assembly that includes at least a protective cover layer, a display stack that includes a plurality of display components arranged in a plurality of interconnected layers, the display stack providing an imaging service, and a flat support chassis arranged to provide support for the display stack" before adding that “It should be appreciated, however, that other transparent materials such as clear plastic can be used”.
Android and Windows Phone have already given up on the home button on smartphones and tablets (for Android) and it appears that Apple might just as well follow suit.
We’re not convinced about the whole “cheap iPhone 5” rumour mill given that Apple has the iPhone 4S (RRP £449) and the iPhone 4 (£319) to fall back on.
However, the rise of cheap, powerful quality smartphones using Google and Microsoft’s mobile platforms means that Apple may need to change its strategy to keep on growing.