Will Apple release three versions of the iPhone 5?

iPhone 5-keyboardYou know summer is right around the corner when the next generation iPhone rumors start. Earlier today, we reported that the iPhone 5 will possibly sport a 4-inch display. And of course, those nano-sized, budget iPhones are reportedly in the works as well.

Now we’re hearing more about the supposed three versions of the iPhone 5 Apple could be releasing in June. Before we get into any details, let’s take a second to acknowledge we’ve heard the rule of three when it comes to Apple before. When iPad 2 speculation reached a fever pitch during the holidays, we heard there was a possibility Apple would be releasing a Wi-Fi only model, a Wi-Fi and UTMS model, and a CDMA model.

We’re (possibly) weeks away from finding out if there’s any truth to that rumor, and now it’s cropping up again – only this time, applies to the next iPhone upgrade. It also isn’t reserved for connectivity alone: Rumor has it Apple is working on three models of the iPhone 5 complete with hardware variations. Cult of Mac is reporting that “a Taiwanese Mac rumor site with a sometimes-accurate history of predictions,” (take that for what you will) claims Apple is in the process of testing “three radically different” iPhone 5 prototypes.

The first is simply some minor improvements. The hardware is, reportedly, nearly identical to the iPhone 4 but would have improved battery capacity and more megapixels on the rear-facing camera. It would possibly also include the upgraded (and still rumored) dual-core A5 CPU Apple has developed to run its new iOS devices.

Another is described as similar to a BlackBerry device, including a slide-out QWERTY keyboard. You read right – a physical keyboard, complete with the buttons Steve Jobs so notoriously loathes. It seems like a concession Apple would make in order to break into the pockets of more corporate users, a demographic it’s struggled with. At the same time, this seems downright crazy. Apple doesn’t typically introduce models that deviate so drastically very often, and last year’s iPhone 4 and iPad were considered major updates to its line. A keyboard phone seems like too big of a jump for Apple this year – which isn’t to say the Cupertino giant isn’t testing such a device. We just don’t expect to see it come June.

Apparently, nothing is known about the supposed third version, but it could possibly be the larger, 4-inch display iPhone 5 that’s been making the rumor rounds this morning.

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