Samsung and other rivals have made bigger phones, including so-called phablets, that have sold well, particularly in Asia, a region where Apple is searching for growth

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SAN FRANCISCO - Apple plans to launch two larger iPhones this year and will likely avoid using the plastic exterior design of last year's 5c model which has not sold as well as expected, the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.

Apple is developing an iPhone with a display larger than 4.5 inches measured diagonally, and a second version with a screen bigger than 5 inches, the newspaper said.

Both new models are expected to feature metal casings similar to what is used on the current iPhone 5s. Apple expected to scrap the plastic exterior used in the iPhone 5c, the Journal added, citing unidentified people familiar with the situation.

The phones, expected in the second half of 2014, won't include a curved display, a feature recently introduced by rivals including Samsung Electronics. The smaller of the two models is being prepared for mass production, while the larger-screen version is still in preliminary development, the WSJ reported.

Apple spokeswoman Teresa Brewer declined to comment.

So far, Apple's largest phone has sported a 4-inch display. However, Samsung and other rivals have made bigger phones, including so-called phablets, that have sold well, particularly in Asia, a region where Apple is searching for growth.