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Apple’s iPhone 6 phablet might not launch this year

5.5-inch iPhone 6 Release Date

While Apple is expected to launch two bigger iPhone models this year, including a 4.7-inch iPhone 6 model and a 5.5-inch iPhone 6 (or iPhone Air) phablet, a new research note obtained by MacRumors from well-connected Apple insider and KGI Securities analyst Ming Chi Kuo says that the latter model might hit stores next year.

FROM EARLIER: New report claims to reveal release date for iPhone 6 and ‘iPhone Air’

This isn’t the first time reports have claimed the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 will be delayed, compared to 4.7-inch iPhone 6 launch plans, as Apple is facing production issues. While previous reports said that sapphire glass mass production will lead to 5.5-inch iPhone 6 delays, Kuo now describes new iPhone 6 manufacturing challenges.

“Production bottlenecks on 4.7-inch iPhone 6 center on the yield rate of in-cell touch panel and metal casing,” Kuo said. “As in-cell touch panel becomes larger in size, the edge of the panel may become insensitive to touch. Meanwhile, under new manufacturing process for the iPhone 6 metal casing, color unevenness is an issue.”

These problems seem to affect the 5.5-inch model even more than the smaller iPhone 6, which is why Kuo says Apple will either launch the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 in limited quantities after October, or launch only the 4.7-inch version and cut the prices of the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c, which should continue selling alongside the new 4.7-inch version.

Apple is expected to announce its 2014 iPhone or iPhones in September, and start selling at least one model later that month.

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he closely follows the events in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises. Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.