The iPhone rumor mill has been cranked to the max with a new report out of Asia tonight claiming that Apple (AAPL) is working to release three new iPhone models this year.
The information, which comes from the China Times (translated by investment news service BrightWire) suggests that Apple will release a 4-inch iPhone 5S and a 4.8-inch iPhone (both featuring 8-mega-pixel cameras sensors) before the end of June, and a third, unknown model with a 12-megapixel rear camera, just before Christmas.
The report calls the 4.8-inch smartphone, the “iPhone Math”. Many publications are suggesting that the “Math” name, which is clearly a strange name and one that certainly doesn’t fit in with any current Apple naming scheme, is a mistranslation as the original story is published in Chinese. CNET however, points out that the name is printed in English, so it’s unlikely to be a translation error. That said, it could well be just a codename and nothing more.
Citing detailed information from Apple’s suppliers, the report added that shipments for crucial components, like the touchscreen displays and camera systems, will increase in March ahead of a late-April production timeline.
“The shipments for components, including touchscreens and cameras, will start rising significantly in March, and iPhone manufacturers will begin production in late April”, the report says.” Hence, Apple’s suppliers will see major growth in 2Q 2013.
Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. Ltd. will undertake 90% of the manufacturing orders, and Largan has received orders for 8 million camera lenses. Fujikura, Flexium and Zhen Ding will share production orders for printed circuit boards.
Foxconn Technology and Coxon will provide molding parts for Apple’s new models; Foxlink will continue to offer connectors; Hon Hai Precision’s Microelectronics Technology will start designing 4G network solutions for Apple.”
This is not the first rumor that has featured a larger iPhone profile. Noted Apple analyst Peter Misek first reported in December that the tech giant was working on an iPhone with a 4.8-inch display. Digitimes also reported in early January that Apple was working on a bigger, more affordable iPhone model to help the company claw back market share from Google‘s (GOOG) Android. None of the reports however, had mentioned the existence of the so-called “iPhone Math.”
At present it’s hard to know what to believe with multiple and sometimes conflicting reports coming from industry sources. But as macrumors has noted, despite “detailed information on suppliers, manufacturers, and production times, it is difficult to believe that Apple will produce a bigger iPhone, [as well as break away from the recently-established iPhone fall refresh cycle] by releasing two versions in a six month time frame.
It will be interesting to see how this develops.