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Apple said to be 'exploring' 5.7-inch iPhone

Who's the copycat this time, Mr. Cook?

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Apple is said to be "exploring" building iPhones with displays of 4.7 and 5.7 inches, a move – if true – that could be in response to consumer demand for large-screen smartphones such as the 5-inch Galaxy S 4 from über-rival Samsung.

In addition, Reuters reports, there are also less-expensive iPhones said to be in the works, ones that will have plastic cases that will come in five or six colors, making them easily distinguishable from more-expensive "black & slate" and "white & silver" flagship phones. One must be able to flaunt one's wealth, musn't one?

According to Reuters, these disclosures come from "four people with knowledge of the matter," including "those in the supply chain in Asia."

The plastic, colorful, cheapo iPhone rumor is not a new one. KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, for one, already told world+dog last month that such a device was on its way, according to his sources. He also said that it, along with a new flagship iPhone, would be announced along with iOS 7 in June and would ship in July – which, of course, didn't happen, though Kuo has a generally good track record on his predictions.

A 5.7-inch smartphone wouldn't be unique. The ZTE Grand Memo V9815 has a display of that size, and Samsung's stylus-using Galaxy Note II isn't far behind at 5.5 inches. And then there's the Asus FonePad, a 7-inch beast that truly deserves the term "phablet".

If Apple does, indeed, bow to larger-screen pressure, it will be a Cupertinian admission that some people want a display that's larger than the one that Apple described when it announced the 4-inch iPhone 5 last September. In that announcement, Apple said, "By making the screen taller, not wider, iPhone 5 is just as easy to use with one hand so you can tap, type and scroll the same way you always have."

There's more than a little irony to the rumors of Apple investigating a larger-display iPhone, considering how Cupertino has savaged Samsung for what it claims are the Korean's copycat design choices. If Apple does go ahead and release a 5.7 or 4.7-inch iPhone – and remember, "exploring" doesn't mean "building" – which company will be the copycat this time around?

But then again, Tim Cook & Co. might want to take a look at a recent report by JPMorgan Chase & Co. that sales of the Samsung Galaxy S 4 are "expected to be disappointing," as well as Morgan Stanley lowering its estimates for sales of that smartphone – charges that Samsung CEO JK Shin has denied.

Rumors, speculation, predictions, and denials; although we enjoy a good rumor as much as the next fellow, we'll wait for actual announcements of actual products before we plan – or postpone – our purchases. ®

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