Sketchy rumor claims Apple iPhablet won’t use iPhone branding?

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A new report out of Taiwan reiterates that Apple is working on two new iPhone models, one with a display measuring 4.7 inches diagonally and the other sporting a 5.6-inch screen. However, the story surprisingly claims Apple won’t use iPhone branding for the 5.6-inch model because this “non-iPhone” is apparently an “experimental” device.

We’re not sure what to think about this as Apple has always branded all of its smartphone models as iPhones. The claim reminds me of an old rumor which said Apple would release a new kind of iOS device, a cross of sorts between the iPhone and the MacBook Air that would justify a completely new branding…

Taiwan’s Economic Daily News is reporting (via Macotakara) that Apple will release the new iPhones in the third quarter of this year, probably in the September timeframe, with mass production kicking off in July.

Apple’s longtime manufacturing partner Foxconn will reportedly assemble the handsets, with Cheng Uei Precision Industry and Simplo Technology also helping with production. The 4.7-inch model is said to feature Corning’s Gorilla Glass, like previous handsets from the company.

Finally, the story alleges that the bigger 5.6-inch model will feature sapphire-strengthened displays via Apple’s new partnership with GT Advanced, which operates Apple’s new sapphire plant in Mesa, Arizona. Due to the use of sapphire-based cover glass protection, the 5.6-inch model is expected to be limited at launch.

Apple in January started hiring engineers for the facility, with 9to5Mac‘s Mark Gurman discovering that the plant has recently started mass producing sapphire layers for unknown large-screen devices.

You’re advised to take the branding claim with a pinch of salt because I doubt anyone in Apple’s supply chain would have any idea about the next iPhone’s moniker.

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