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iPhone 5 cases hit AT&T stores, suggest design changes

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Case Mate's iPhone 5 designs were live on their site briefly in September before the company pulled them.

AT&T (s t) retail stores are reportedly taking delivery of iPhone 5(s aapl) cases a little early, according to a new report. Photos obtained by MacRumors show boxes of new cases allegedly delivered to one AT&T store late Thursday. The cases feature a tapered back design and what appears to be a mute switch opening on the opposite side of the phone relatively to where it’s currently located.

A tapered back redesign is in keeping with some other early case leaks we’ve seen from Chinese accessory makers and other vendors, although separate rumors have suggested we’ll see a new iPhone that closely resembles the previous generation. One theory is that Apple will unveil two new models of iPhone on Tuesday during its special media event, one of which is a modest evolutionary upgrade of the iPhone 4 as a low-cost option, and the other a complete redesign.

The cases could be fake or based on an uninformed, just-in-case ordering decision on behalf of AT&T or this store in particular. Some have pointed out that the packaging seems unrealistic, but AT&T retail is known to repackage products from accessory-makers in generic packaging. And considering how close we are to the iPhone 5’s reveal — Apple is holding an iPhone launch event on Oct. 4 — it’s more likely that important partners like AT&T would be privy to some knowledge of the next iPhone’s actual design.

Personally, I think we’ll see redesigned hardware, and the tapered look seems to be garnering the most support. For Apple to wait 16 months just to introduce a minor refresh would not go over well with consumers, as we’ve seen from recent survey results.

7 Responses to “iPhone 5 cases hit AT&T stores, suggest design changes”

  1. I think it’s highly unlikely that AT&T will buy random cases from a manufacturer if they have no idea that it’ll be the right type, potentially wasting tens of thousands (or more) dollars. However I don’t think a case redesign means it’s necessarily a major step, they might not change anything inside, but it does say iPhone 5 on the case though, so I have no idea :)

  2. Pacifico Renato

    HAWR! HAWR! HAWR! Who is fooling who ? If you guys are really serious about knowing the form factor and the looks of iPhone 5, go to China or Taiwan. They are beyond the reach of Apple legal storm troopers.

    This controlled leaks in cahoots with blogsites and pseudo news are to ramp up the feeding frenzy.

    • MurphyMac

      It’s a very interesting discussion. Plenty of ‘normal’ consumers know only that they want an iPhone. Maybe a change to the form-factor IS what they’re most interested in. I know I’ve heard people in the Apple Store who were most interested in the color of the iPod and nothing else.

      I know Wall Street will punish Apple if the new phone looks like an Apple 4, but the punishment should be short-lived as they’ll return to their senses and remember how well the iPhone 4 sells.

      Personally, I love the form of the 4. I don’t understand how so many people break them. I think they forget they’re worth a lot more than $200 or whatever they paid for them. Gruber doesn’t see a teardrop shape in the cards, because it would be weird when held horizontally. I tend to agree. There just doesn’t seem to be enough leaked evidence to support it.

      Bottom line: Even if it just looks like a 4 I think plenty of people will realize it’s refreshed with new features and that’ll be enough for them to buy. I agree it’s weird it took this long. But the rumored “Assistant” features could have been extremely difficult to optimize for release.