Fort Collins-based Otter Box designed new iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c cases based on rumors

FORT COLLINS, Colo. - Fort Collins-based OtterBox says it began to design cases for Apple's newly announced iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c based on rumors.

Apple unveiled the new phone designs on Tuesday morning in a presentation in Cupertino, Calif. Orders will start to be accepted for the iPhone 5c on Sept. 13 and for the iPhone 5s on Sept. 20.

For this particular product launch, OtterBox dedicated a core team of six designers.

"This is the first time that Apple has release two new smartphones. It presented a unique challenge in that there were many more variables to track, which devices might have which features and functions, for example," said company spokeswoman Kristin Tatti.

Because of Apple's legendary secrecy, case designers at OtterBox only get official specifications when the phones are announced to the public.

"Our product engineers have to design for many variables and slowly whittle down the exact designs based on what amounts to rumors," Tatti said.

The iPhone 5c resembles the iPhone 5, but is made of plastic with a steel reinforcement. The device's guts are also similar to the last iPhone. Importantly for OtterBox's design team, buttons and the camera remain in virtually the same places.

The iPhone 5S will feature a new 64-bit A7 processor which will load graphics twice as fast. The body of the phone is virtually identical to the iPhone 5, except for one significant change -- the home button needs to be accessible.

Apple's announcement Tuesday touted a new security feature they call "TouchID." As was widely rumored, it incorporates a fingerprint sensor into the iconic home button on the front face of the phone.

The new sensor was a particular problem the OtterBox's top case design.

Tatti explained, "Our flagship Defender Series case has a built-in screen protector and required modifications to open up the home button area to accommodate this technology evolution."

Asked how much the local company has to spend to prepare for a product launch like this, Tatti responded, "It's hard to quantify the specific costs, but it's fair to say that they are significantly higher because we are not able to get a device in hand or tech specs prior to launch."

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