Almost a year to the day, the preemptive, el cheap-o iPhone 5 cases are being pumped out of China via Alibaba. Haven’t we already been burned by these bogus rumors before?
It’s the summer of 2012 and, you, the avid Apple enthusiast, the iPhone her, are once again being treated to a second round of “buzz baiting” with the appearance of new, fake iPhone 5 cases. Mind you, these aren’t the old, fake iPhone 5 cases from last year — those cases wouldn’t fit the iPhone 5. Or at least the iPhone 5 prototype that 9to5Mac purports to have happened across, some 3 or 4 months before the real iPhone 5 will ostensibly be announced. No, these new, fake iPhone cases — hot off the presses from el cheap-o dollar store manufacturers in China (and probably the same manufacturers who made the fake cases last year) are showing up, once again, on Alibaba.
And the appearance of these cases are seen as “hard evidence” by some that the 9to5Mac iPhone 5 prototype is indeed the real deal.
Before we believe the hype, however, I think it’s worth revisiting the coverage of the old, fake iPhone 5 cases from 2011, since some of them bear a striking resemblance to the new ones we’re seeing in 2012 — only a wee bit longer.
The cases pictured above are from a new crop of iPhone 5 cases showing up on Alibaba. As you can see, they are basic, el cheap-o hard shell plastic cases, probably constructed out of polycarbonate plastic. These cases are the absolute cheapest kind of iPhone case that can be manufactured — they literally cost pennies to produce.
And they also look a heck of a lot like the quality of iPhone 5 cases offered on Alibaba last year, as we reported on in this article. Take a look:
This case looks to be made of TPU, another inexpensive plastic that can be quickly, easily, and cheaply molded into anything. The only difference is that this case doesn’t fit the new specs that the 2012 9to5Mac prototype purports.
TechCrunch is working hard to justify the appearance of these cases as proof positive of the new iPhone 5 design that they’ve worked hard to promote as real: “As the next iPhone approaches, Apple will start handing out specs to trusted accessory makers. That could have already happened. After all, this move is a standard operating procedure to ensure the phone launches with strong accessory support. But these cases are now available for purchase as long as buyers are willing to order them in bulk.”
In a word, TechCrunch‘s assessment that Apple seed specs to top consumer electronics accessories designers is, for lack of a better G-rated word, is bupkis. There is no evidence that even the top-tier case designers ever have access to the new iPhone’s specs before their release. In fact, my own sources from within that industry tell me that Apple guards their form factor designs against the prying eyes of the consumer electronics accessories industry more than anyone else.
Let’s not forget Case-Mate’s infamous publicity stunt in 2011, floating their own iPhone 5 case designs. We reported on them in this article, which is definitely worth revisiting. Case-Mate never even gave us real cases to peruse, only these slick renderings:
Even BGR floated a screen shot of an AT&T inventory list of Case-Mate cases that purported to show the Case-Mate iPhone 5 cases. At least Case-Mate had the foresight to wait to produce their “iPhone 5 cases” until they saw what Apple actually offered — they saved themselves a lot of money. The same couldn’t be said for Hard Candy cases, who went all in on their own iPhone 5 case designs.
What is important to remember with all of these case sightings is that all of them have matched up with the specs that 9to5Mac published. Thus, if you don’t believe their original sighting to be true, then all of these supporting claims of iPhone 5 cases cannot be true, either.
By Michael Nace