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Apple's new iPhone 'to feature sleek unibody case'

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Apple Inc. fans wait in line in front of a shop in Tokyo

© PA Images / Itsuo Inouye/AP

Apple's next generation of the iPhone could feature a single unibody frame similar to the MacBook lineup, as part of a "significant" upgrade on last year's iPhone 4S.

Brian J White, an analyst with Topeka Capital Markets, issued a note to investors yesterday highlighting information he had gleaned from tours of suppliers in China and Taiwan.

According to Apple Insider, White said that he expects production of the sixth generation of the iPhone to begin in June, with the product going on sale in the fourth quarter of this year.

The analyst expects the new iPhone to come with a larger screen of 4 inches, and feature 4G LTE connectivity, after the feature was introduced in the new iPad last month.

But he also feels that the new "sleek look" of the iPhone casing will be a real selling point for consumers to upgrade.

"In our view, this will be the most significant iPhone upgrade with a four-inch screen and a new, sleek look that we believe will require a unibody case," White wrote.

"This new, sleek look will be the most important reason that consumers decide to upgrade."

Reports last year suggested that the new iPhone will have a tapered form factor in a 'teardrop' design. It is now thought that the phone could come with an aluminum unibody similar to the rear panel of the iPad.

Whatever form the new iPhone takes, White believes that its launch will 'dwarf' previous Apple launches and push the company stock towards Topeka's staggering target of $1,001.

White is confident of this valuation because he also believes that the next generation of iPhone will be joined later this year by the widely rumoured new Apple connected TV device, and the speculated 'iPad Mini'.

The analyst said yesterday that his sources in Asia had spoken of a small screen iPad, which is expected to have a 7.85-inch screen and rival Amazon's Kindle Fire, although he admitted that the exact timing of its launch remains "unclear".

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