It's a rumor that never dies: Apple is working on a cheaper, "budget" iPhone that will push for market-share in markets where the company's typically premium are especially expensive. But in the absence of hard evidence, we have soft evidence. Like this patent for a plastic iPhone. Maybe this is that rumored budget iPhone? Maybe? Ehhhh probably not.
An astonishingly spare patent,—I mean, look at that graphic—number No. 8,364,032 here was filed for in February 2012, and was just granted in late January of this year. Essentially, it covers a device with a front-facing screen, rear-facing camera, and a body made out of plastic. You'll also note there's no home button.
How this patent wasn't already snatched during the development of one of the many Android phones that seem to fit this description to a T is anyone's guess. But if there were to be a cheaper iPhone, one in the $100-$150 range, it makes sense that it would take a form similar to this.
Update:It's important to remember, though, that patents like this are just that: patents. Companies file them all the time with no intention of ever building the products they describe. And a patent this overwhelmingly broad doesn't do anything to advance our understanding of what a budget iPhone could be, or whether it exists. So it's best to probably move along and wait until something more substantial rears its head. [Tom's Hardware]