New iPhones with screen sizes of 4.7 inches and 5.5 inches, far larger than the iPhone 5s and its 4-inch display, are set for production in July and for sale as early as September, Bloomberg reported.
Citing anonymous sources familiar with Apple Inc.'s plans, Bloomberg reported Monday night the new set of iPhones would be rounder and thinner. Sunday, a Taiwanese news outlet reported that Apple supplier Foxconn would hire an extra 100,000 workers to handle iPhone manufacturing.
The "iPhone 6" is expected to include a faster processor and more powerful camera.
An iPhone with a larger screen would fulfill the second of two shortcomings in the iPhone product line that analysts said were holding back sales growth. Analysts had also called for a cheaper iPhone, which Apple delivered last September in the form of the plastic-shelled iPhone 5c.
Larger screens are popular globally (though less so in the U.S.) in part because of the growing number of tasks that can be performed on phones, including watching high-quality video.
Worldwide sales of smartphones with 5'' and larger screens rose 369% in the first quarter of this year to account for a third of all smartphones sold in the quarter, the market research firm Canalys said in May. In the Asia Pacific region, the big-screened phones accounted for 43% of smartphones sold.
Especially popular has been Samsung's Galaxy Note series, which runs from 5.3 inches to 5.7 inches, and its Galaxy S line, with 5-inch and 5.1-inch varieties. Canalys analyst Jessica Kwee said at the time that "Apple's absence in this market will clearly not last long."
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