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Apple to launch new affordable iPhone model in March

Adding to a raft of rumors surrounding a low-cost iPhone model tentatively dubbed "iPhone SE 2," a report on Tuesday claims the hotly anticipated iPhone SE-tier follow-up is going into production next month.

Citing sources familiar with the matter, Bloomberg reports Apple suppliers are slated to begin manufacturing the as-yet-unannounced affordable iPhone variant in February ahead of a public debut in March.

Apple last launched a handset aimed at the mass-market with the iPhone SE in March 2016. That model borrowed a design from iPhone 5s, which was two years old at the time, and packed it with then-current tech including an A9 processor and a 12-megapixel camera. The model was priced at $399.

The tech giant is expected to follow a similar strategy with "iPhone SE 2." According to analyst predictions, the upcoming handset is anticipated to share an external design with iPhone 8, currently the cheapest iPhone offering at $449. A 4.7-inch screen is also expected, as is the inclusion of a Touch ID home button for biometric authentication and user interface navigation.

Like iPhone SE, the next-generation low-cost iPhone is rumored to boast Apple's latest processor technology, the A13 Bionic, as well as current-generation camera technology.

A number of trade industry publications have speculated on Apple's 2020 iPhone roadmap, with some claiming the company might launch two low-cost models in 2020. Noted analyst Ming-Chi Kuo suggested Apple is indeed developing a larger-screened "iPhone SE 2," but intends to release the handset in 2021. Other rumblings suggest Apple is working on an "SE 2" variant with full-face display and Face ID, though the validity of those assertions are shaky at best due to prohibitive production costs.

Hon Hai, Pegatron and Wistron have been tapped to assemble the next-generation affordable iPhone, according to today's report.