Analysts have said their information is coming from Chinese manufacturers who are currently building a new iPhone that will incorporate a flip design with possibly a keyboard and/or a larger screen. We've got some news for you too... it ain't gonna happen.
Much as we would love to see a flip iPhone with a keyboard, it just isn't in the cards. Apple's entire iPhone strategy is centered around the "touch" interface and they are not going to abandon it or shift focus to another input scheme at this early stage of the game. Perhaps if people had been bitching and moaning about how terrible the touch keyboard is... but most people aren't, and Apple knows it.
We spoke to some of our Chinese contacts about this rumor and they said that most likely the analysts had received information about competitive products that look like the iPhone in some ways, but aren't the iPhone. Furthermore, our contact told us that with secretive products like the iPhone, factories are often kept in the dark about who they are making the product for. When that kind of secrecy is being practiced, cosmetic branding, like the plate with the Apple logo on the back, isn't even shipped to the factory until a week or so before final delivery.
You can take this news to the bank. The next iPhone will look very similar (if not exactly the same) as the current iPhone.