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A rumor out of East Asia on Tuesday claims Apple will add a third form factor to its iPhone lineup in 2017, specifically a mid-sized 5-inch handset said to share internal components next year's 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch "s" cycle offerings.
Citing sources within Apple's Taiwanese supply chain, Mac Otakara reports the rumored 5-inch model will boast identical specifications as expected from "iPhone 7s" and "iPhone 7s Plus" variants, suggesting the addition is a mere extension of the smartphone lineup.
The supposed 5-inch iteration is also rumored to feature a dual-lens camera array with iSight modules arranged vertically rather than the horizontal configuration introduced with iPhone 6s Plus. Whether the design change extends to the "iPhone 7s Plus" — and potentially "iPhone 7s" — is unclear.
Apple's plans could change, however, as Taiwanese suppliers are expecting to receive finalized specifications some time in the first quarter of 2017, the report said.
Today's report adds to a growing pile of rumors surrounding next-generation iPhone hardware, but conflicts with predictions that have Apple launching three iPhone models in 2017. In particular, the company is said to market a pair of iPhone 7 upgrades alongside a high-end "iPhone 8" or "iPhone X."
According to well-connected analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, the top-tier model will feature exotic technology like a flexible OLED screen measuring 5.1 or 5.2 inches, invisible Touch ID home button, wireless charging and a "glass sandwich" enclosure.
The Mac Otakara report seems to back up Kuo's claims of a 5-inch form factor, but deviates on internal specifications and place in Apple's smartphone lineup. While mere speculation, Apple might be asking certain suppliers to ready components for a mid-size "s" cycle iPhone chassis as plans for an "iPhone 8" solidify. OLED yields, for example, are of particular concern for a handset produced at scale, while bleeding edge tech like long-distance wireless charging is as yet unproven.