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The latest rumors out of Asia claim that Apple will launch three new smartphones in 2013, including a next-generation iPhone, a cheaper model handset and a surprise large-format device with a 4.8-inch screen tentatively dubbed the "iPhone Math."
Citing upstream supply chain sources, the China Times (via global investment news service BrightWire) reports that Apple will unveil the three iPhones at staggered launches throughout the year, with the first two being the next-generation iPhone and the 4.8-inch "phablet" device. These people claim a third model with a 12-megapixel camera will debut before the holiday season, though not much is known about the product at this time.
It should be noted that AppleInsider cannot vouch for the veracity of the sources' claims and offers the following information for purposes of discussion only.
Recent reports have that suggested Apple may debut a more affordable handset this year, but none have mentioned the so-called "iPhone Math," which the publication says will help the company stay competitive in light of rival manufacturers' phablet offerings. The rumor is another in a string of reports alleging a larger-screened iPhone may be on the way.
While details regarding the mystery device's specifications remain scarce, sources claim it will feature a large display measuring at least 4.8 inches diagonal, almost one inch larger than the current iPhone 5. Form-factor and screen resolution are unknown, though the so-called "iPhone Math" is said to boast an 8-megapixel camera with lenses built by Largan Precision. The Chinese firm has supposedly been tapped to supply some 8 million camera lenses for both the "iPhone 5S" and the "iPhone Math."
Component shipments for the two handsets, including touchscreen panels and cameras, will purportedly begin in March ahead of a late-April production timeline. Apple manufacturing partner Hon Hai, better known as Foxconn, will reportedly be responsible for assembling 90 percent of the orders.
The iPhone 5S claims are in line with analyst predictions regarding the production timeline of the iPhone 5 follow-up, with manufacturing expected to begin in March ahead of a launch in June or July.
A recent report from well-connected analyst Ming-Chi Kuo noted that the next-generation iPhone will likely include a fingerprint scanner built into the home button. He also expects a more affordable iPhone range to debut in the third quarter of 2013. The new model will be similar in design to the iPhone 5 but will replace the expensive aluminum chassis with a polycarbonate version available in six different colorways.