Apple’s Cheap iPhone Might Do Away with the Home Button

Patent filing mentions “clear plastic body,” among other materials

The United States Patent & Trademark Office has granted Apple a patent application for a new smartphone model with no Home button and a clear plastic enclosure. Cheap iPhone?

Patent No. 8,364,032 is accompanied by graphics which show the above mockup featuring an iPhone with no Home button and a super slim bezel around the display.

It has two cameras (one on the front, and one on the back), the application states, and it can be made from a variety of materials, including “clear plastic,” Apple says.

“It should be appreciated, however, that other transparent materials such as clear plastic can be used,” according to the filing.

Apple says the back of the device is covered by a protective layer that “can wrap around and protect at least the rear portion of the portable device without adversely affecting an image capture process carried out by the rear facing camera assembly,” the filing reads.

The patent was submitted to the USPTO on February 21, 2012, and the office awarded the invention to Apple on January 29, 2013. Credited inventors include Chong Yip Chow, Hongqin Zhang, Shizhe Shen and Michael DiVincent – all Apple engineers.

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