The Wall Street Journal reports that Apple will start producing a followup to its iPhone 5 in the coming months. According to anonymous sources, the new iPhone will begin production in the second quarter of 2013, possibly setting it for a summer launch.
The new iPhone will look just like the current iPhone, but the internals are expected to get an upgrade. Most people are calling it the iPhone 5S, since Apple released an iPhone 3GS, and iPhone 4S, which didn’t change the look of their predecessor.
Photos of the purported iPhone 5S surfaced on the web in February, and showed a handset almost identical to the iPhone 5, with an updated vibration motor to decrease noise when the iPhone receives notifications (some have complained the current motor is too loud).
WSJ sources claim that the next phone will launch this summer. The iPhone 5 launched in September of 2012, which would put the next phone’s launch right around the one-year mark for that device.
At the same time, Apple continues to work with its manufacturing partners in Asia on a less expensive iPhone that could be launched as soon as the second half of this year, these people said.
The four-inch device likely will use a different casing from the higher-end iPhone. Apple has been working on different color shells for the phone but its plans remain unclear.
An Apple spokeswoman declined to comment. The Wall Street Journal earlier reported that the company was working on a less expensive iPhone that could go on sale as soon as this year. Analysts have said they expect Apple to launch its next iPhone around the summer.
The two devices reflect new pressures on Apple. The Cupertino, Calif., company has long commanded unique premiums for the iPhone, but consumer demand for cheaper products is spiking.
A flood of smartphone entrants and the rise of Samsung Electronics Co. have commoditized the market, squeezing margins and dividing profits among an array of devices.
hat handset is said to have plastic or polycarbonate body that would allow Apple to sell the device at a lower cost. The current iPhone 5 has a metal back, while the iPhone 4S and iPhone 4 feature glass cases.
Tuesday’s report doesn’t offer any surprising details, but does corroborate with what earlier reports have claimed about Apple’s 2013 plans for the iPhone lineup. Parts claimed to be from the “iPhone 5S” were spotted last month, providing further evidence that Apple’s next handset could be nearing production.
The Journal offered no indication as to whether an “iPhone 5S” might include a fingerprint sensor underneath the home button for secure transactions.
Those claims were first made in January by analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities, who has a strong track record in predicting Apple’s future product pipeline.
While word on the street claims that the iPhone Mini (or whatever Apple calls it) will actually still rock the same 4-inch screen, the casing is where one of the big changes will be seen.
Rather than the metal body the current model has, it may be plastic or even carbon fiber. To boot, it may be available in a slew of colors, much like the latest generation of iPods.