Foxconn, the primary assembler for Apple products, went on a massive hiring spree, indicating that production of the iPhone 5 could be underway, according to Asian news source M.I.C. Gadget.
The report stated that the plant in Taiyuan, China, is holding heavy recruitment to meet the production of new Apple phones. Up to 20,000 more workers were required to meet the demand for iPhone 5 production orders.
Foxconn will be responsible for 85 percent of the manufacturing of Apple's new smartphone according to the report. This means that 57 million units will need to be produced each year in order to meet the demand.
And the spike in hiring at the assembly plant could point to a release date as early as June, according to the iPhone 5 news blog.
In the production cycle of a new product, assembly comes last, write blogger Michael Nace, indicating that this could mean the launch is approaching. Why would Foxconn hire 20,000 worker to assemble an iPhone 5 that is to be released in the fall?
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However, according to CNet, a summer release is unlikely for the electronics giant.
We're still expecting an autumn launch though, in keeping with Apple's standard time scale. That's providing that Foxconn can find the workers, writes the publication's Joe Svetlik.
This is all in the midst of a pay strike at the Taiyuan factory, where hundred of workers are on hiatus due to a pay dispute. The workers claim that Foxconn promised a raise for the entire staff, but didn't keep its word for entry-level employees, according to CNet.
In addition to release date rumors circulating the Web, speculations about the device's features have also surfaced. The latest of which saying that the smartphone will sport a 4.6 inch screen. Concept design photos have also leaked, and theories based on the new iPad's features, such as 4G LTE service, have users wondering what the new gadget will have to offer.