Apple reportedly preps for two larger iPhonesApple suppliers in China will begin mass production of its largest iPhones ever next month, according to sources familiar with the plans.
Apple is ramping up on two bigger devices, said the sources, who asked not to be identified because the plans are private. One model will have a 4.7-inch display, compared to the 4-inch screen of the iPhone 5s, that may be available to ship to retailers in September. A 5.5-inch version also is being prepared for manufacturing and may be available at the same time, the sources said.
Apple is getting ready for its annual unveiling of new iPhones after rivals Samsung Electronics and HTC released smartphones with displays that are as large as 5.7 inches. Consumers have been gravitating toward larger-screen devices - in China, 40 percent of mobile gadgets based on Google’s Android operating system sold this year had displays of more than 5 inches, according to an estimate from Forrester Research.
Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook is under pressure to reignite Apple’s sales growth and the iPhone, which generates more than half of the company’s annual revenue, remains his chief weapon. Last year, the smartphone produced $91 billion in revenue, more than the total sales of Oracle Corp., Yahoo! Inc., Facebook Inc. and Twitter Inc. combined.
Natalie Kerris, a spokeswoman for Cupertino, California-based Apple, declined to comment.
Apple shares fell less than 1 percent to close at $90.28 in New York, leaving them up 13 percent this year.
The new iPhones also will be rounder and thinner than previous models, said one source. Production of the 5.5-inch model is more complicated than the smaller version, resulting in lower production efficiency that must be overcome before manufacturing volume can be increased.
Apple is developing new iPhone designs including bigger screens with curved glass and enhanced sensors that can detect different levels of pressure, Bloomberg reported in November. Called 2.5-dimension glass, the material lets manufacturers taper the edges of the screen where the bezel meets the frame.