Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) next-generation iPhone may still be months away from its public release, but rumors and speculations related to the handset have started flooding the tech world.
New grist was added to the rumor mill on Tuesday when Japanese news website Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (via Apple Insider) reported that Sharp, one of Apple’s primary display suppliers, is set to begin mass production of LCD display panels for the next iPhone model -- the “iPhone 5S” -- in June.
Sharp will reportedly use its Kameyama Plant No. 1 in Japan, a facility that has encountered poor utilization rates of late as Sharp’s LCD business had a tough time in 2012. Although it was Sharp’s 100th anniversary, the company announced its worst financial record in history (a loss of $4.7 billion) in April 2012.
Apart from Sharp, Apple is also said to have sent orders to LG and Japan Display, a company that combines the display manufacturing arms of Sony, Hitachi and Toshiba. The production process of the "iPhone 5S" display panels at those firms has already started, the report added.
The report that the "iPhone 5S" display production will ramp up in June corresponds with an earlier report from the Wall Street Journal, which said that the next-generation iPhone’s production would begin in the second quarter of this year.
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Some previous reports had suggested that Apple would start producing the “iPhone 5S” in March so it could release the device as early as this summer. However, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo revealed later in April that the launch of “iPhone 5S” could be delayed due to two major technical hurdles -- the implementation of the fingerprint sensor underneath the Home button of the handset and the development of the iOS 7.
Although Kuo did not give any specific date for a third quarter release of the “iPhone 5S,” he did provide three scenarios -- all taking place between September and November -- for Apple product releases.
It’s worth mentioning here that even Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, hinted at a fall release of the iPhone 5S during the company’s second quarter earnings call last month. Cook said that Apple had a lot of surprises for its consumers as "amazing new hardware, software and services" would come this fall and “throughout 2014,” MacRumors reported.
Same Display And Design As iPhone 5
When it comes to the display and form factor for the “iPhone 5S”, the upcoming model is expected to remain the same as the existing iPhone 5, which was the case with the iPhone 4 (2011) and its successor, the iPhone 4S (2012).
While the both the display and design of the “iPhone 5S” could remain the same, the device is rumored to feature certain significant upgrades, including a fingerprint sensor, a faster A7 System on Chip (SoC), Near Field Communication (NFC) technology, a better camera, and iOS 7, among others.
In addition, some reports have also claimed that the “iPhone 5S” could come in colors other than the usual black/ slate and white/ silver.