According to The Wall Street Journal, Apple has asked for production of two new iPhone 6 models - one with a 4.7-inch and the other with a 5.5-inch touchscreen - to begin next month. Apple's iPhone 5s and 5c devices have 4-inch screens and must do battle with popular large-screen smartphones made by Samsung, HTC, LG, Xiaomi and other Google (GOOG) Android-based smartphones.
Apple shares were gaining 0.23% to $94.16 in late morning trading in New York.
Last year, Apple reportedly ordered between 50 and 60 million of the then new iPhone 5s and 5c's in advance of the Sept. 20th introduction. Almost immediately, customers faced big shortages and huge delays due to the overwhelming demand. Aiming not to have the same problem this year, Apple is reportedly asking its suppliers to ramp up huge numbers of finished handsets in advance of the upcoming, but unannounced launch date.
The next iPhones are rumored to be a complete redesign, with the models featuring rounded edges, larger sized screens made from Apple's sapphire glass technology, an improved camera, the ability to communicate with Apple's much rumored smartwatch and will include the already announced iOS 8 operating system.
Ivan Feinseth of Tigress Financial Partners believes the new iPhone 6 devices will have more memory as well as larger screens to better compete with Samsung's big Galaxy and Galaxy Note smartphones. The "current iPhones are too small for most people" who would prefer larger screens to browse through photos and watch videos," Feinseth said via phone. He rates Apple a "strong buy."