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Apple Inc. (AAPL): iPhone Builders Prepping For Double Duty?

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is not known for being forthcoming with any information regarding new devices, and the company seems to be even worse at tamping down rumors that may or may not be true. Apple is in the “neither confirm nor deny” camp when it comes to rumors and innuendo.

Certainly, though, while Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has a history of producing multiple devices at one time, thanks to its diversified supply chain, but there has never been a time where Apple has taken on the challenge of producing two of the same type of device at the same time.

But rumors have been flying that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) was not only going to ship an iPhone 5S this fall, but also a cheaper version of the iPhone would hit emerging markets as well. It was rumored that the two phones would come out about three to four months apart. But is that so, really?

One Apple observer, analyst Katy Huberty of Morgan Stanley, wrote recently upon returning from Asia that members of the Apple supply chain are starting to ramp up for production of “several” iPhones, which could begin in earnest in June or July with the models to hit store shelves perhaps in September.

Examining Apple's Forward ValuationThe cheaper iPhone model will likely be made of plastic and may be intended for lower-income emerging markets like China, where the dream price point for phones there seems to be about $160 US.

Image: Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)

In addition, Huberty reported that her visits to Hong Kong and Taiwan indicated that the iPhone 5 was doing better than originally thought by some observers, who were making connections that reduced production orders in the supply chain indicated a slowdown in demand. It turns out that CEO Tim Cook was right when he essentially warned analysts and investors not to rely  on the data that comes from the supply chain.

“After a slow start, iPhone 5 is now on track to meet carrier volume expectations and iPhone 4 price cuts could stimulate incremental demand near-term,” Huberty wrote. “Carriers see the opportunity for Apple to expand market coverage with 5-inch and lower-priced iPhones over time. TD-LTE licenses, and related phone launches, are expected by year-end.”

What are your thoughts? Is Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) ready for mass production of two iPhone models at the same time? Do you think these will ultimately help the company gain market share? Should that be the company’s goal in the long run? What specs would you like to see in a new iPhone model? Let us know in the comments section below.