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Apple finally, contrary many of its earlier claims, released the smaller and cheaper iPad mini towards the close of 2012, and although it perhaps didn’t hit a price point to suit those dazzled by the powerful-yet-inexpensive Nexus 7, it has enjoyed a solid first six months in the market. With that release in mind, the seemingly omni-present rumors of a cheaper, smaller iPhone have suddenly gained traction, and according to a report over at Japanese blog Macotakara, the  Cupertino company has "deferred" such plans until next year.

The report went on to suggest the handset will be made of polycarbonate; a glossy, robust type of plastic used by many other smartphone vendors, as well as the famed entry-level MacBook. The fate of the polycarbonate MacBook was sealed shortly thereafter by the 11-inch MacBook Air, but with the cheaper iPhone set to live up to its billing with a target price of just $330, it could find a more permanent place in the competitive smartphone arena.

Macotakara’s report has certainly set the Apple-following tech world abuzz, and the Japan-based blog has certainly come up trumps with its information in the past. For the very enticing price tag, the entry-level iPhone will also pack in a 4.5-inch display, which would be noticeably, if not exceptionally larger than that of the current iPhone 5.

iPhone black and white back

Although the iPhone 5 is revered for its thin form factor and sleek aluminum finish, those purchasing the entry-level model should not expect such niceties. Apparently, it will be thicker than the current flagship thanks to the polycarbonate body, although the alternative design may also render it more durable than its high-end counterpart.

Polycarbonate may be a cheaper material, but looking at other smartphones laced in the shiny plastic stuff – Nokia’s Lumia 920, for example – it’s likely the deputy handset will still be able to maintain some of that quintessentially-Apple finesse.

The report concludes by briefly touching on the subject of the iPhone 5′s successor. The device, which Macotakara is calling the "iPhone 5S", is reckoned to include a dual-flash LED module to help improve the long-standing low-lighting issues, while two flash exposures will allegedly be stacked atop each other on the right-hand side of the camera lens.

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