We’re expecting this year’s iPhone 12 line-up to comprise two 6.1-inch iPhones, one 5.4-inch model and a 6.7-inch one.

Digitimes suggested just over a month ago that the two 6.1-inch iPhones will go on sale first, and is back with a new report today pointing to supply-chain evidence for this …

The previous report was based on split plans for circuit board production, and Digitimes today says that these plans indeed played out as expected.

Suppliers of SLP (substrate-like PCB) boards for the next-generation iPhone devices (tentatively named iPhone 12) have been ramping up shipments of related products since July-August, despite the fact that the new iPhones reportedly will debut later than normally scheduled, according to industry sources.

The new iPhone lineup may arrive in two stages, with two 6.1-inch models in the first and another two 6.7- and 5.4-inch devices in the second, said the sources, noting that shipments of SLP mainboards for the 6.1-inch models were kicked off in July and those for the 6.7- and 5.4-inch ones began in the second half of August.

The wording is virtually identical to the earlier report, simply stating that production for the larger and smaller model did in fact begin late last month.

As we noted last time, the idea of some models going on sale before others is a credible one.

That idea is of course not without precedent. We first saw it in 2017, with the iPhone X being announced in September but not going on sale in November, and again the following year when the iPhone XR was announced in September and wasn’t available until October.

However, we’ve also cautioned that Apple uses multiple suppliers for many components, so individual suppliers wouldn’t necessarily be a reliable guide to the iPhone maker’s plans.

Looking in a little more detail at what we’re expecting:

  • 5.4-inch lower-end model
  • 6.1-inch lower-end model
  • 6.1-inch higher-end model
  • 6.7-inch higher-end model

All four are believed to have OLED screens, and to adopt the slab-sided design last seen in the original iPhone SE and in the current iPad Pro. One key difference between them is expected to be that the lower-end models will have two rear cameras, while the higher-end ones will have three – plus time-of-flight sensors for more accurate focus and more sophisticated AR capabilities.

If this report is true, it would mean that one lower-end and one higher-end model would be available first. These may be the most popular models, so that could make sense.

All Apple has said is that this year’s models will be available ‘a few weeks later’ than usual, but it has said nothing beyond that. We don’t know whether the keynote presentation will take place in September as usual, with later availability for the phones, or whether the launch event will also be delayed.

We may know the answer to that question shortly: Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman yesterday suggested that Apple would announce the online event in a press release this week, contradicting an earlier report by Jon Prosser that the release would announce new hardware: an iPad and Apple Watch.

Render: Svetapple.sk

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Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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