According to DigiTimes, which has a mixed record in terms of Apple rumors, Apple will launch a new low-cost version of the iPhone aimed at China and other emerging markets sometime in the second half of 2013.
DigiTimes sources its info from Asian supply chain vendors, and in this case, says to have heard the information from multiple unnamed sources within Apple’s supply chain, including some sources that claim to have seen a prototype of the device.
The new low-end iPhone is designed to compete with Android devices, which hold a global lead in part due to lower cost in countries that don't sell subsidized devices, and in part due to an abundance of form factors. The new device, the report stated, will feature a “brand new exterior design” and a larger display in response to the “prevailing trend for the adoption of 5-inch displays for high-end models.”
The larger display is an interesting idea, since although this low-cost iPhone rumor has circulated for years, in most of the earlier reports, the device was thought to be smaller as well as cheaper -- with, of course, the smaller size leading to at least some of the cost savings -- and was dubbed the iPhone mini.
Reports from earlier this month suggested that Apple is planning to launch an “iPhone 5S” by June with several new color options beyond just the black and white it has thus far offered (once again, responding to the challenge of other device manufacturers, including Nokia and Windows Phone).
Meanwhile, multiple independent reports have also claimed that Apple will launch two different versions of its new iPhone, but it wasn't thought that Apple would move to a larger, 5-inch display, but rather keep the current 4-inch display used on the iPhone 5 for the iPhone 5S, and add a second low-cost model with include a smaller display (back to the iPhone mini).