Forget the iPhone 5, Apple's seventh-generation iPhone is already in development, according to the latest rumors out of China where the device is manufactured. Wether it's called the iPhone 5S, iPhone 6 or something else, it looks like Apple's redesigned smartphone could hit stores early next year.
The new comes from tech news-site DigiTimes a Chinese website with a questionable track record when it comes to Apple rumors. However, the article cites the Commercial Times, a Chinese-language paper based in Taiwan, which claims that Apple is gearing up to start testing iPhone 5S designs in December 2012.
According to the Commercial Times the move is a result of insufficient profit margins on the iPhone 5 design, and not intense competition from Apple's chief rivals, the always co-conspiring Google and Samsung.
"Facing low yield rates in the production of iPhone 5," the Commercial Times reports. "Apple has accelerated the certification processes for related parts and components for the iPhone 5S, the paper revealed."
DigiTimes adds that the redesigned iPhone will likely begin mass production in early 2013, suggesting that an official release date won't be far away. The articles also notes that an improved iPad Mini, possibly with Retina display.
Apple remains consistently tight-lipped in response to the latest wave of rumors, refusing to confirm that they are redesigning the iPhone this early or even revealing what the seventh-generation iPhone will be called. Many tech blogs ad analysts are already referring to the next Apple smartphone as the 'iPhone 5S,' banking on the precedent the company set when they followed the iPhone 4 with the 4S. However, based on Apple's more recent products we think the company may return to incremental number upgrades.
After releasing the third-generation iPad last Spring and simple referring to it as the "new iPad," Apple released an "iPad 4" last month. This suggests that inside Apple the decision has been made to keep things simple, at least when it comes the names of their devices.
Then again, if the redesigned iPhone is simply a slightly improved iPhone 5 with a cheaper manufacturing process then it may end up being branded as the iPhone 5S.
We'll continue to report on any iPhone '6' news and rumors as it develops. Until then check out this article on whether the iPhone 6 will have a fingerprint scanner lock function.