Three seems to be the magical number for Apple in 2017. Recent rumors have suggested that the Cupertino company plans to release three new iPad and iPhone models this year. The next-generation iPhone lineup will include a 4.7-inch model, a 5.5-inch model and a high-end 5.8-inch model, according to the DigiTimes.
Citing "upstream supply chain" sources, the Taiwanese website reports that the next-generation models will not only be larger than their predecessors, but they will feature drastically different form factors. The 5.8-inch model will allegedly adopt a new "chassis made of reinforced glass with a stainless steel metal frame," while boasting a brighter and more power efficient OLED display.
While OLED panels offer improved features from LCDs they also cost more. This means the new display will drive up the price of the larger iPhone 8 model to over $1,000, according to the supply chain sources.
The rumored 4.7-inch model will ship with Apple's standard aluminum casing, while details about the 5.5-inch model's design has "yet to be confirmed."
The DigiTimes' report differs from a previous 2016 rumor claiming that all three of Apple's next-generation models will feature glass casings. The Japanese website Nikkei said in October that Apple will release three iPhone models in 2017 with "glass backs". According to the website's inside sources the 5.5-inch Plus model will be the only device to ship with a "curved edge-to-edge OLED display," while the other two models will be equipped with standard LCD displays.
Noted analyst Ming-Chi Kuo agrees with Nikkei claiming Apple will switch to all-glass casing in order to support wireless charging, while the Japanese website Mac Otakara claims both the 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch models will retain an aluminum design.
The rumor mill only seems to agree that Apple will release three new iPhone models in 2017, which isn't much of a prediction since the iPhone-maker released three new models in 2016. What isn't clear is if Apple plans to increase the size of its devices, and if the iPhone 8 Plus will be a more expensive "premium" model with a glass-backed body and improved OLED display. It is also unknown when Apple plans to release these rumored handsets. Will Tim Cook announce a 4.7-inch iPhone 7s model alongside the new iPad Pro models in March, or will all three next-generation iPhone models be unveiled together much later in the year?
We won't know for sure until an official announcement is made by Apple, but we can guarantee there will be lots of rumors to keep us busy until that time arrives.