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Is Apple readying a 5.7in iPhone phablet? Don’t count on it

As we reported yesterday, Apple is allegedly "exploring" 4.7in and 5.7in iPhones, as well as a $99 (£63) plastic iPhone model coming in up to six colours, according to Reuters.

Before you take this report of an upcoming Apple phablet seriously, understand how Apple works. Reuters said "suppliers have been approached with plans for the larger screens," but not that anyone has actually ordered any of the larger screens. In other words, Apple has ideas for products it may or may not release.

The company put this better than I could, in its mission statement at the WWDC developer conference this week (see the video below).

"If everyone is busy making everything, how can anyone perfect anything? We start to confuse convenience with joy, abundance with choice. Designing something requires focus. The first thing we ask is, what do we want people to feel? Delight, surprise, love, connection, then we begin to craft around our intention. It takes time… There are a thousand no's for every yes… We simplify, we perfect, we start over, until everything we touch enhances each life it touches. Only then do we sign our work."

Whether you believe this to be a statement of fact or PR hyperbole, it's pretty clear: Apple is a company that works on a lot of ideas it doesn't release. That's one of the key differences between Apple and Samsung. We can speculate as to why Apple prefers a small, focused product line, but that's the company's stance.

We've heard plenty of reports over the years about Apple "exploring" or "developing" products that it doesn't actually release. The most famous, of course, is Apple's television set. For example, analyst Gene Munster said in 2009 that Apple would release a TV by 2011. And others were talking up Apple's TV set last year. But still nothing has happened yet.

I don't think the analysts are just making these things up. Apple has been working on a TV for years – it just hasn't got the hardware and content deals aligned to its satisfaction.

With phablets a success in most of the world, it's a no-brainer that Apple is doing its due diligence on phablets. Just don't think that means Apple has actually decided to make one.

So what can we expect in the next iPhone?

So if the next iPhone isn't going to have a 5.7in display, what will it be like? One way to get some clues is to look at what features appear in iOS 7 that aren't in any existing iPhone.

CNET's Jessica Dolcourt broke some down by finding support for 60 frames per second camera capture, an inclinometer sensor, and a new toggle button design, for instance. Maybe none of these things are as exciting as a $99 (£63) phone or a larger screen, but at least Apple has actually put them in a shipping product.

When Apple announced iOS 7, it said the new OS would be coming "this fall." That's when the new phone will be coming, too, and that’s when we'll see the one yes that came from these thousand no's…