How Case Makers Got Fooled Out Of Hundreds of Thousands By The iPhone 5

How Case Makers Got Fooled Out Of Hundreds of Thousands By The iPhone 5

Psst. Wanna buy Apple’s design for the iPhone 5? In the shadowy world of case manufacturing, leaks and rumors fuel a market worth more than $436 million annually. After one company lost a bet worth thousands of dollars on a supposed iPhone 4S design, competitors say guessing Apple’s next move can be an expensive gamble.

Hard Candy Cases lost $50,000 after ordering moldings for the iPhone 4S based on models from manufacturers in China, according to a Bloomberg Businessweek follow-up on our exclusive report earlier in October. Unlike the leaked designs, the iPhone 4S included no major changes.

However, sometimes leaked designs pay off for the company, which will top $50 million in revenue by 2013. A design from a manufacturer matched a new iPod touch Apple released in September 2010, allowing Hard Candy to sell cases for the device just a week after the announcement. The cases have up to 65 percent gross margin, making it little wonder research firm NPD Group estimates the mobile phone case market worth $436 million for the year ended in August. That’s a 33 percent increase over last year.

Hard Candy CEO Tim Hickman previously worked at Speck, which denies using leaks to predict Apple’s designs. “We listen to the rumors like everyone else does and make intelligent guesses,” CEO Irene Baran told the publication.

Luckily for the case makers, the iPhone 4S’ close resemblance to the iPhone 4 allows the companies to make minor modifications and quickly get new designs out the door. However, there is always the next rumor, such as the iPhone 5. That iPhone 4S design Hickman bought? It could pay off after all. “That data we got came from somewhere,” muses the Hard Candy CEO.

  • garrettchace

    Rumors are rumors. Data is data. I’m concerned by the CEO’s use of both words in his statements..

  • prof_peabody

    The title is misleading.  When you say this article is about HOW case makers got fooled, you should, you know … provide an actual *explanation.*  

    All this says is what we already know.  Case makers were fooled.  

  • TylerHoj

    Wouldn’t it be funny if Apple didn’t release an updated design to stick-it to these case manufacturers. Why spend the money on legal fee’s when your in a position to have the manufactures shoot themselves in the foot. I’m not saying this is what happened. But I’d die from laughing if it did. 

  • Steven Chaffer

    Not to be a penis but they kind of deserved it in my eye’s. I feel these people were in the rumor drivers seat the last few months and added all kinds of BS speculation to what the next iPhone WAS going to look like. ……Just my opinion.

  • Georginadales

    Luckily I bought mine from this site. Looks so perfect. CaseItUp.com has iPhone 4S cases with a kick.  We have the case styles you’ve been looking for.  They don’t just hang around the edges.  They’re stylish and have a purpose.  Plus, we’re giving you 25% OFF any iPhone case through
    Monday, 10/17.  Visit http://www.caseitup.com and enter 25IPHONE and receive 25% OFF your order.

  • Jordan Clay

    SOOOO…they go to rumor mills to get case design and the rumor mills create mock ups based on Case design.

    Interesting

  • cdpinker

    Also credit to http://stupidapplerumors.com/ for pointing out the misleading title (only one company affected, not case makers, plural)

About the author

Ed SutherlandEd Sutherland is a veteran technology journalist who first heard of Apple when they grew on trees, Yahoo was run out of a Stanford dorm and Google was an unknown upstart. Since then, Sutherland has covered the whole technology landscape, concentrating on tracking the trends and figuring out the finances of large (and small) technology companies.

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