Rumors of a light weight and cheaper iPhone sparked some life after a leaked photo reveals an iPhone 4S prototype.  The prototype was encased with a white plastic backing rather than glass. 

According to Tinhte, a Vietnamese website providing leaked tech information, the iPhone 4S looks almost identical to the current iPhone 4.  But performance wise, it is supposedly faster than the iPhone 4.  No additional information was given about processor or RAM specifications.

Buzz has been growing around photos showing a front and rear view of the white iPhone 4S prototype with an operational 'reloading data' screen displayed.  The rear view photo shows crossed out model and serial code numbers printed on the white plastic case backing. 

The prototype's latest appearance could indicate a lower cost lineup of iPhones Apple will introduce alongside the iPhone 5 release.  The lowest priced version starts from the iPhone 3GS moving up into the iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, and then finishing at the highest tier with the iPhone 5. 

Customers seeking for a lower priced Apple mobile device can turn to the iPod product lineup.  The iPods have also generated some buzz after an iPod Touch photo was accidently posted on the iTunes website.  Apple typically plans to revamp the iPod devices as the holiday season nears and this fall's release may prove to be an exciting one alongside the iPhone 5. 

Though the iPod lineup still produces profitable income for Apple and represents a 70% hold of the MP3 player market, its steady decline in sales over the past years may signal a curtain call for the once dominant product line. 

Apple's iPhones and iPads are snatching up sales as users are able to connect online to access media while traditional devices such as the iPod shuffle and Nano contains no wireless capability.   Some good news is that the newest release of iOS5 and iTunes version 11 could provide more powerful features, such as iCloud, and may secure the iPod a place in the Apple lineup. 

Apple's iCloud technology will be an integral component of the process.  According to iDownloadBlog, it is reported that,

"iCloud is also going to be more closely integrated with iTunes...This means if you back up your iDevice to iCloud, that same backup will be stored locally on your computer...Also, app data from iCloud will be synced closely with iTunes. For example, if you beat a level in Angry Birds, that level data will be synced to iCloud and then to your iTunes library," wrote iDwonloadBlog.

Steve Job's presentation of the upcoming iCloud may also be another reason for phasing out the iPod lineup as users no longer need to store media onto hardware but can access files through  cloud servers.  Unless Apple can integrate wireless capability in the new iPod products lineup, the traditional MP3 player platform may be seeing the end of its glorious journey.    

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