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Chinese manufacturer gambles on new case based on alleged 'iPhone 8' schematics

A case design has popped up on social media from a Chinese manufacturer, but appears to be based on the assortment of "leaked" schematics from April and may not be accurate.

A protective case for the back of the "iPhone 8" from Beyond has leaked, by twitter userKKSneakLeaks. It is notably absent a penetration for a rear-mounted Touch ID sensor, and duplicates the details from April's schematics exactly.

Other features in the case include a larger power button, a vertical camera alignment versus horizontal on the iPhone 7 family, and the general size of the device. Calling the features "confirmed" is a stretch, as the source of the data for the case is very likely the "leaked" plans with unclear accuracy.

However, the case is not based on Apple-provided plans. Following the teardrop-case iPhone leaks from 2011, case manufacturers opened up about how and when they get data from Apple to build their cases.

Case maker Hard Candy ordered $50,000 worth of steel moldings based on bogus 3D models for the iPhone 5, hoping to get the leg up on its competition. According to Tim Hickman, owner of Hard Candy, specs are often leaked to case makers from factories in Shenzhen and Guanzhou in hopes of garnering future business.

Hickman did not name the suppliers in question, but did allege that the companies send specs to rival case makers like Case-Mate, Incase and Speck Products. When competitors wait for official specs from Apple for case manufacture, companies like Hard Candy that have used leaked specs can begin selling cases within a week of release.

"We have no idea what's going to hit the market," said Irene Baran, CEO of Speck Products in 2011. "We listen to the rumors like everyone else does and make intelligent guesses."

If supply chain reports from analysts are to be believed, the anticipated flagship "iPhone 8" could be in extremely limited supply in 2017, thanks to the expected adoption of a number of new technologies. As a result, customers could wait, or shift interest to the "iPhone 7s" family of phones which are expected to be released at the same time, potentially capping iPhone shipments in the holiday quarter.

The "iPhone 8" is predicted to sport an edge-to-edge OLED panel with a 5.1-inch user space — the rest dedicated to virtual buttons. Slimming or removing the bezels would allow Apple to cram a larger battery into a form factor similar in size to the 4.7-inch iPhone 7. Also expected is a new 3D facial scanner .

With a complete redesign said to be forthcoming in the device implementing a curved glass back with wireless charging, some reports have pegged the starting price of the "iPhone 8" at more than $1,000.