As of writing, we're less than 10 days from Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) special event, during which the company is sure to unveil its next-generation trio of iPhones, reportedly called iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone Edition.
These phones have the potential to supercharge Apple's business, driving both unit shipments and average selling prices up year over year throughout the coming product cycle.
As nice as the coming iPhone cycle promises to be, Apple can't rest on its laurels; it's hard at work on the technologies that'll power future iPhone models.
A 5.28-inch version was planned -- but scrapped
The report claims that Apple had "until recently considered launching 5.28-inch and 6.46-inch iPhones next year," but scrapped those plans "due to the growing consumer demand for bigger-screen phones and related technical progress such as full-screen display."
Considering that we haven't heard much about Apple's retro iPhone SE -- which initially seemed to do quite well in the marketplace -- it's not terribly surprising that Apple would shift its focus toward larger-screen devices.
About that huge version
Embedded in the quote in the previous paragraph was another hint as to what we'll see with the next-generation iPhone lineup: a 6.46-inch model.
An even-larger-than-5.8-inch display iPhone Edition model makes sense. After all, this year's iPhone Edition should have a physical footprint that's slightly larger than what we see with today's 4.7-inch iPhone, so there's room for a larger model -- especially for the (seemingly many) individuals who appear to have no issue with the large footprint of the 5.5-inch iPhone 7 Plus model (such as yours truly).
Apple could also pack such a device with premium features, just as it's adding premium features into this year's model, thanks to what could be a relatively rich asking price. I wouldn't be surprised if Apple pushes the starting price of the 6.46-inch iPhone Edition (assuming, of course, such a thing will come to market) up even higher than the rumored $999 starting price of this year's 5.8-inch iPhone Edition.
An even higher-priced iPhone, if it's compelling enough, could help Apple further boost its iPhone average selling prices, serving to further fuel revenue and profit growth.
Work is starting earlier-than-usual
Finally, The Korea Herald quoted a source "close to the matter," that "work for this year's iPhone started in April, also earlier than usual."
Now, to be clear, work for the 2018 iPhone started long before April of this year -- many of the components that'll go inside, like the A12 Fusion processor that'll serve as the "brains" of the device, had to have begun being worked on years in advance of the device going into production.
Furthermore, those components -- the ones with several-year lead times -- have feature-sets that are tightly coupled to the design of the phone itself.
What I suspect the source meant is that work on the industrial design/form factor began in April, since the development cycle for finished devices tends to be shorter than those of the components that power them.