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Six inch iPhones on the way

Apple is reportedly testing large screen iPhones, with some screens as big as 6 inches.

The company is expected to unveil both a high-end new iPhone, dubbed the iPhone 5S and a cheaper version later this week, but is already working on bigger iPhones, according to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ).

The current iPhone 5 has a 4-inch screen, and Apple is evaluating screens from 4.8 inches all the way up to 6 inches. At the top end, that puts the iPhone only Sony’s Experia Z Ultra, at 6.4 inches would be bigger. A 6 inch iPhone is pretty big, even bigger than Samsung’s Galaxy Note phones, and putting it into the half phone, half tablet territory. Last week Samsung unveiled the Galaxy Note 3 with a screen size of 5.7 inches.  Apple’s mini tablet, the Ipad mini has a screen size of 7.9 inches.

It’s not yet clear if Apple will follow the iPod approach with multiple sizes for the iPhone, but to cater for different users and markets, it would be a pretty good bet. One of the biggest markets for Apple would be China, which it has yet to really crack, with sales in the country dropping 14% in the last quarter. According to various reports, Apple is ranked in either fifth or sixth place in the Chinese smartphone market, well behind no.1 Samsung.

That may be about to change as Apple is expected to unveil the iPhone 5C, a low-cost iPhone targeted at developing markets. That could allow China Mobile, with 740 million subscribers the dominant mobile carrier in China, to offer both the low-cost and premium, full-featured iPhones.

Reuters is also reporting that Japan’s largest carrier, NTT DoCoMo will carry the iPhone for the first time.

Apple will also release its updated operating system IOS 7 this week.

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Motley Fool writer/analyst Mike King doesn’t own shares in any companies mentioned.

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