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Reuters: Apple mulling $99 multi-color and larger-screened iPhones

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A report on Thursday claims Apple is looking into a variety of possibilities to expand its iPhone lineup for 2013 and 2014, including cheaper pricing, larger screen sizes and multiple colors.

According to Reuters, four people with knowledge of Apple's plans say the company is investigating a number of iPhone models for 2014, such as a $99 version, 4.7-inch and 5.7 iterations and models with color options other than black and white.

While the sources appear to be reiterating rumors that have been bandied about for months now, they claimed to have direct knowledge of the situation via suppliers within Asia that are fielding inquiries from Apple regarding iPhones with larger displays. More specifically, these people said the company has narrowed down possible screen sizes to 4.7 and 5.7 inches, and may introduce two "bigger" models next year.

The publication reports Apple's rumored iPhones are a direct response to the Samsung's performance in the smartphone market, which has outpaced Apple since mid 2012. As per usual, the sources hedged their statements by noting Apple "constantly change[s] product specifications almost to the final moment, so you're not really sure whether this is the final prototype."

In January, a questionable report first suggested that a 4.8-inch iPhone could be in the works for 2013, but rumors surrounding a "phablet" iPhone have since died down.

Perhaps more interesting in Thursday's report are details regarding a lower cost iPhone, which sources said could be priced as low as $99. As widely speculated, the entry-level handset is to be produced in a variety of colors and will be made of plastic to keep costs down.

Reuters apparently received conflicting reports regarding the cheaper iPhone, however, as one of its sources claimed the handset may not launch until 2014, while others said test runs are already scheduled for July ahead of mass production in August.

"Trial production was originally planned to start in June, but the mixing of colours is taking longer than expected as Apple has very high and idealistic standards," one source said, adding that some 20 million units of the less expensive iPhone are expected to ship in the fourth quarter.