Is Apple Jumping Into the Phablet Trend?

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) is preparing to launch a large-screen device called “iPhone Math” this year, according to the latest buzz from the company’s Asian supply chain. This particular device will be one of three new smartphones from the company this year, the reports said, with the other two being the next-generation iPhone and a cheaper handset.

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The China Times reported that the new 4.8-inch device — marking Apple’s debut in the phablet category — will feature a 12-megapixel camera with lenses manufactured by Largan Precision. It will debut before the holiday season. Largan Precision will also supply camera lenses for the iPhone 5S, an iPhone 5 follow-up that will launch in June or July. According to the sources, touchscreen panels, cameras, and other components will start shipping to Apple manufacturing partner Foxconn for assembly ahead of a late-April production timeline.

KGI Securities’ Ming-Chi Kuo is one of the analysts to have predicted three new iPhones from Apple this year. According to Kuo, while the next-generation iPhone 5S will include a fingerprint scanner within the home button, a new cheaper version of the iPhone will replace the usual aluminum chassis with a polycarbonate one.

Long Launch Line

The China Times report added that a high-definition television set was also on its way to the market before the end of the year in a line of seven to eight new products due this year from the company.

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Apple has received some heat from investors over the past few days since a news report said the company had cut iPhone 5 component production orders after seeing lower-than-expected demand for the device. Analysts bullish on Apple have suggested that the cuts may simply be signaling increasing efficiency in the production chain. The iPhone maker is scheduled to announce its fiscal first-quarter earnings this week. A consensus beat will go a long way in winning back the confidence of worried investors and stabilizing its dipping stock price.

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