The budget iPhone remains a much gossiped-about device, a hoped-for reality rather than a bit of kit that anyone outside the hallowed halls of Cupertino has managed to lay their hands on.

But we’re undoubtedly edging ever closer to its official launch.

Sites across the web have been making impressive renders of the plastic handset, while one, TechDy, even claims to have snagged the front and rear shells, showing the world what a budget iPhone will really look like.

It’s a hugely exciting proposition and one that promises to shake up the entire smartphone industry.

Until now, cheap smartphones have either been older devices flogged off at cut price, or handsets that lack the same cutting-edge credentials as their high-end stablemates.

Google has largely had it its own way, despite impressive efforts from Nokia in this direction.

Apple logo on building

But the idea of having a cheap Apple device running the very latest version of iOS and receiving the newest software at the same time its more expensive sibling is hugely appealing.

Like the iPad Mini and iPod Mini before it, the budget iPhone will give those who aspire to the Apple brand the chance to have a taste of features that until now have been beyond their reach.

That might seem crass, but it’s reality.

Many will choose a cheap iPhone over a low cost Android phone because of Apple being synonymous with great design, build quality and the universality of its mobile operating system.

ios 7 official

In the wider picture, it fits into Apple’s attempts to reassert itself in the smartphone space after a couple of years of drift.

iOS 7 has shown what a huge change it’s willing to undergo in order to show why it’s still best in the business.

The budget iPhone runs along these same lines, showing it’s willing to adapt to the changes in the market it helped create, but doing it on its own terms.

There’s surely no question that the budget iPhone will sell in huge quantities. And with every new leak, the excitement at what it means is palpable.

Budget iPhone techdy

For every cheap Android phone, there’s always been talk about what a similar Apple device would be like.

It won’t be too long before we know exactly what Apple’s plans are.

And perhaps, after a few months of flat growth and dipping shares, Cupertino will be ready to snatch back the initiative.

By Joe Minihane