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Cheaper iPhone with larger screen and new design set for emerging markets, report claims

It’s not the first time we’ve heard talk of Apple prepping a cheaper iPhone for emerging markets, but this latest piece of information offers a few more details (perhaps).

According to a report on Tuesday from Digitimes – a tech website whose sources, it has to be said, don’t always prove reliable – Apple is gearing up to launch a new-look iPhone for China and other emerging markets in the second half of this year.

The report states that sources in the supply chain claim to have seen the low-cost device, which apparently has a larger display than the current 4-inch screen found on the iPhone 5. The report also says the device will have “a brand new exterior design.”

A cheaper Apple handset with a larger screen conflicts with a report last week which suggested the Cupertino company had Samsung’s Galaxy S3 Mini in its sights. Strategy Analytics’ Neil Mawston told Reuters he believed Apple would have to launch an ‘iPhone Mini’ at some point “to address the hundreds of millions of prepaid users worldwide that cannot afford the current iPhone.”

A device with a smaller or same-sized display aimed at emerging markets certainly makes more sense than a device with a larger screen – something that many owners of the current iPhone might actually want – so perhaps what Digitimes’ sources have actually seen is the iPhone 5S or 6.

That would fit with what Topeka Capital Markets researcher Brian J. White told Reuters last week – he predicts the tech giant will release an iPhone 5S model with a variety of screen sizes in around four months’ time. He also floated the idea that the company will launch a smaller, cheaper iPhone for emerging markets.

Analyst Peter Misek, who doesn’t have a bad track record when it comes to predictions regarding Apple, said last month he thinks a low-cost iPhone could hit the market in the middle of this year for between $200 and $250.

With emerging markets offering Apple the possibility of a new and lucrative revenue stream, it appears to be a case of not if it’s going to launch a cheaper iPhone model, but when.

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