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Will Apple ditch the iPhone 5S in favour of an iPhone 6 and iPhone mini?

We’ve seen a number of supposed leaks for the next iPhone, the iPhone 5S in the last month. Plastic backs, gold trim, and even a phablet-sized redesign have been bandied about, but we’re starting to see some interesting trends. Most recently, the idea of a cheap and colourful iPhone has really taken off. At this point, it’s a pretty safe assumption that we’ll see at least one plastic iPhone launch this year.

A plastic iPhone?

Nowhere Else, a French tech blog, recently posted a few pictures of a supposedly leaked iPhone 5S shell. This lime green monstrosity (see the pic below) features an all plastic back with what looks like a metal framework on the inside.

The introduction of whacky colours has been rumoured for years, and it fits neatly with Apple’s modus operandi for product line expansion. After the iPod line saw so much success from the fashion-conscious, it was only a matter of time before the iPhone received similar options.

When you look at the supposed iPhone 5S logic board and these gold-trimmed buttons, it’s clear that the rumours are converging on the idea of a colourful iPhone 5S with a small footprint. Just last year, the iPod touch line expanded to five different colour options, and that is par for the course at Apple. Frankly, a line of colourful iPhones with matching trim is just the next logical step.

Last month, a picture leaked showing an iPhone with a curved plastic back. This was reportedly some kind of low-end iPhone or “iPhone mini.” Even if this model was legitimately prototyped by Apple, it seems unlikely that it would come to market with a design so reminiscent of the iPhone 3G and 3GS. Regardless of a specific design, the rumour mill seems adamant that an iPhone mini is on the horizon.

While most signs point to a small, cheap iPhone, some people aren’t giving up hoping for a phablet from Apple. While it is certainly possible that Apple can simultaneously launch a cheap iPhone 5S (or iPhone mini) while offering a bigger phablet-sized iPhone 6, it doesn’t seem likely.

Apple is quite bullish on minimising fragmentation, and a bump in screen size a single year after the introduction of the 4in iPhone 5 just seems too sloppy.

After putting all of these rumours together, I theorise that Apple will end up releasing two iPhones this year. I’m betting on the first model being a boring old iPhone 6 with a nice bump in specs, and the second model being a cheap plastic iPhone that can be sold for little or no money on contract.

Needless to say, both versions will likely sport a 4in screen. Apple recently did away with the generational split for the iPod touch line, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see Cupertino drop the iPhone 5 and 4S completely going forward.

Image Credits: Nowhere Else, Weibo