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Rumor: Apple working on two phones, one with plastic casing and low price, the other with 4.5-inch display to replace iPhone 5

iphone-5-mainIf, like me, you’re partial to the occasional iDevice rumor, then you might have noticed that recently things have been a little quiet on that front.

On Thursday, however, the rumor mill cranked back into action with a story from Japanese Apple-news site Macotakara citing unnamed sources claiming the Cupertino company is prepping not one but two new iPhones.

Plastic?

First, there’s a resurfacing of the “cheap iPhone” rumor. According to Macotakara, Jony Ive and his crew are building an entry-level iPhone, possibly aimed at emerging markets, with a casing made of polycarbonate, a synthetic thermoplastic resin similar to the material used with the discontinued white MacBook. The unsubsidized model is expected to cost about $330.

The plastic iPhone (really, will there ever be such a thing as a plastic iPhone?) will apparently be thicker than the iPhone 5 because of the polycarbonate casing. Apple’s current handset has an  aluminum exterior.

So, what do you think – cheap, plastic iPhone? At the start of the year, Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of product marketing, told a Chinese publication that cheap smartphones “will never be the future of Apple,” although several follow-up reports appeared to suggest his words may have been twisted in translation.

With tech companies such as Samsung offering an increasing number of affordable devices to consumers in lucrative emerging markets like China, India and Brazil, it’s highly unlikely that Apple will simply sit on the sidelines and watch its competitors rake in the cash. Sooner or later, it’s more than likely it’ll come up with a cheaper handset, though whether it’s made of plastic remains to be seen.

iPhone 6 with larger display?

Next up, the follow-up to the iPhone 5 – quite possibly to be called the iPhone 6, though there’s always a chance Apple will simply stick an ‘S’ on the end of ‘5’ just to keep us on our toes. This device will apparently have a 4.5-inch display, half an inch larger than the screen on the current iPhone. A dual-flash LED module, with one flash placed under the other on the right side of the lens, will be added to the phone to improve photographs in low-light environments, Macotakara said.

Furthermore, it’s claimed Apple has pushed the launch of this phone from this year to next, though no reasons are given as to why.

As for Macotakara’s reputation when it comes to digging up Apple rumors that turn out to be true, it has a hit-and-miss record, which, while not perfect, is at least better than a miss-and-miss record. As noted by MacRumors, the Japan-based site has previously posted some spot-on information about what Apple had up its sleeve, including details of the iPod Nano and iPod Touch redesigns rolled out in 2012.

[Macotakara via Apple Insider]