Apple will begin the trial production process for the 'iPhone 5S' in December, according to new reports.
The reports cites Chinese-language paper Commercial Times, who says that initial production volumes will be between 50,000 and 100,000 units of the seventh-generation iPhone.
"While the speculated iPhone 5S is expected to enter volume production in the first quarter of 2013, Apple is also likely to release a new version of iPad a quarter later than the iPhone 5S, since the display resolution of its latest version of iPad has come out lower than expected," reads the report.
We expect that Digitimes is referring to Apple's newly launched iPad mini, which is expected to be updated with a Retina display in 2013. (See also: iPad mini 2 release date, rumours and leaked images).
Computerworld's Jonny Evans thinks that, based on Digitimes claims of Q1 volume production, Apple could launch its next iPhone in June or July of 2013.
Evans points out that, while it seems soon to be discussing a new iPhone and new iPad mini so soon after the latest versions launched, Apple could be ramping up its release schedule in order to keep up with the competition. The company already demonstrated that it is willing to update its devices more frequently than once a year with the introduction of the iPad 4 just seven months after its predecessor.
Evans also suggests that Apple's competition could be fueling rumours about upcoming iDevices in order to put customers off of buying them.
"There is one other possibility," Evans writes. "Apple may be on course to introduce a new breed of iPhone, not intended to compete with the classic model, but to widen the market with the release of a different kind of device."
The next iPhone could see significant changes, including the introduction of NFC, new processors and an iOS redesign following the recent executive shake-up at Apple. Evens also asks how far Apple will go toward merging OS X and iOS in its future devices, and whether Siri will ever come out of beta, which it has been in since it launched with the iPhone 4S in 2011.
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