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Apple ‘to release two iPhone models this year’

There has been speculation that Apple will release the iPhone 5 in September or that it will release a slightly improved version of the iPhone 4. However, Chris Whitmore of Deutsche Bank says that Apple plans to do both.

It is not clear what evidence Whitmore has for his prediction but he writes: “With Nokia and RIMM struggling the time is right for Apple to aggressively penetrate the mid range smartphone market.”

Whitmore says that the cheaper of the two phones, the iPhone 4S, will cost around $350 (£220) and will target pre-paid rather than contract customers.

However, another analyst, Katy Huberty of Morgan Stanley, predicts that Apple will release only one new iPhone this year and that it will go into production in “mid to late August”.

Huberty, who has just returned from Taiwan, where much of Apple’s equipment is produced, said that the iPhone 5 would go on sale in September.

In recent years Apple has launched its new iPhone models at its Worldwide Developers Conference in June but this year’s event was a software-only affair. Now speculation is focusing on September, when Apple traditionally launches its new iPods, and rumour season is in full swing.

Almost everyone agrees that there will be a new iPhone of some description, though the precise specification is unclear. It seems likely that the new phone will have an improved processor – the A5 that powers the iPad 2 – and perhaps a better camera. It might even look very different to its predecessor and contain an NFC chip for mobile payments.