updated 09:31 am EDT, Thu June 13, 2013
Device could grow as large as 5.7 inches
Apple is considering a range of possible options for expanding its iPhone lineup in 2014, say four sources for Reuters, some of which are said to be with Asian suppliers. The people claim that Apple is considering two bigger iPhone sizes, including 4.7- and 5.7-inch dimensions. Suppliers have reportedly been approached with plans for the bigger screens, but whether or not they'll make it into shipping products is uncertain. "They constantly change product specifications almost to the final moment, so you're not really sure whether this is the final prototype," one source says.
Apple may feel pressured to offer a larger iPhone based on industry trends. While the iPhone 5 pushed iPhone sizes from 3.5 inches to 4, the device is still dwarfed by many competing smartphones. Its main competition, the Samsung Galaxy S4, has a 5-inch display, and the Galaxy Note II is even larger at 5.5 inches.
Turning to late 2013, one source says that Apple is considering a $99 pricetag for the low-cost iPhone, but that a launch could slip to 2014. In the meantime Apple is expected to launch a new flagship -- commonly known as the iPhone 5S -- with fingerprint recognition technology built in.
Two sources say that test production for 2013 flagship and low-cost iPhones is expected to start in July. Mass production will allegedly ramp up in August for a September launch. "Trial production was originally planned to start in June, but the mixing of colors is taking longer than expected as Apple has very high and idealistic standards," one Asian source comments. The person expects that 20 million low-cost iPhones, fitted with plastic backs in different colors, will ship in the December quarter.
Sharp, Japan Display, and LG Display will reportedly supply panels for the 5S and the low-cost iPhone. Hon Hai/Foxconn is seen assembling the 5S, while Pegatron handles duties for its cheaper sibling.