iPhone 5S
Foxconn has reportedly started hiring workers at its Zhengzhou plant, suggesting that mass production of Apple’s iPhone 5S has begun. Apple

As the buzz around Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL) expected September release of the iPhone 5S -- the 2013 model of its flagship smartphone -- picks up, a new report claimed on Tuesday that Apple’s manufacturing partner Foxconn has started hiring more workers for producing the next generation iPhone.

A recruitment firm, which is responsible for hiring at Foxconn’s plant in Zhengzhou in northern China, has begun recruiting workers on a large scale, indicating that mass production of the iPhone 5S has begun, CNET reported, citing China Business News.

The report by China Business News was based on information from an anonymous source at the Zhengzhou plant, who said that Foxconn currently has 210,000 workers, which is way below the 300,000 people employed during the production peak in 2012. Therefore, the company is now assumed to be filling assembly line positions with new employees.

“As the seasonal hires file onto the production floor, it is widely believed that Foxconn is preparing to enter the mass production phase of the so-called ‘iPhone 5S,’ a handset thought to carry over the design of the iPhone 5, but with upgraded internals,” an Apple Insider report said.

The unidentified source also provided a new twist in the iPhone 5S tale, saying that the Zhengzhou plant is working on a completely different iPhone, which could feature a “borderless” design, an aluminum and carbon fiber shell, and weighs 40 percent less than the iPhone 5.

The iPhone 5S is expected to have a form factor similar to that of the iPhone 5. However, the device is likely to feature a more powerful processor, a fingerprint sensor, a longer-lasting battery, an improved camera with dual LED flash and slow-motion video capturing capabilities.

Rumors are rife that Apple will launch the iPhone 5S, along with iOS 7, in September, followed by a release date in the fall. The Cupertino, Calif.-based tech giant is also rumored to be working on a more thoroughly redesigned iPhone 6 for 2014, which will follow this year’s iPhone 5S.