Unlike with previous iPhone launches, the rumoured introduction of two new iPhone models this year - the iPhone 5S and iPhone Lite - could mean the end of Apple's current flagship smartphone: the iPhone 5.

That's according to a report from ETNews, which claims Apple is preparing to discontinue the iPhone 5 in order to make way for its upcoming iPhone 5S and cheaper iPhone, dubbed iPhone Lite.

See: Should I buy an iPhone 5 or wait for iPhone 5S, iPhone 6?

Typically, when Apple launches a new iPhone, it continues to sell two previous generations of its iPhone at a lower price. Currently, Apple sells its iPhone 5 starting at £529, alongside the 16GB iPhone 4S for £449 and the 8GB iPhone 4 for £319.

With a cheaper iPhone Lite expected to launch alongside Apple's next-generation iPhone this year, the company would already be addressing emerging markets and offering a low-cost option to customers with smaller budgets. Therefore, the company may decide not to sell its older generation models too.

ETNews' report highlights the in-cell technology in the iPhone 5's touchscreen as another reason behind the decision to stop production of the smartphone, because it is "not suitable for low-volume production."

Rumours about the iPhone Lite have picked up recently, particularly since a detailed video of an allegedly leaked plastic casing said to belong to the cheaper iPhone was posted online.

The iPhone Lite is expected to have a plastic chassis, with rounded edges reminiscent of the iPhone 3GS.

The iPhone Lite and iPhone 5S could both be launched in September, although KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has suggested that the iPhone 5S may be facing production challenges that could cause a delay.

In a very precise prediction, Wells Fargo analyst Maynard Um says that the new iPhone will launch on 27 September.

See also:

Apple to launch Haswell iMac in August, new MacBook Pros in September, says analyst

Profits dip again for Apple, while iPhone sales beat record

How do Apple's results weigh up against analyst expectations?

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