Does Apple Have an iPhone 5S Surprise Up Its Sleeve?

Several unconfirmed reports suggest Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) is preparing to test produce an iPhone 5S in December and targets volume manufacturing of the next-generation smartphone for early next year. First published by Chinese-language publication The Commercial Times and followed up by Taiwanese supply-chain focused publication Digitimes, the report suggests Apple is preparing to produce between 50,000 and 100,000 units of the new smartphone in December.

Apple only launched the iPhone 5 in September and is historically known to put at least a full year between version cycles. Even the fourth-generation iPad, which was unveiled alongside the iPad mini in October and came six months after its predecessor, was said to have upset Apple’s pattern of an annual product refresh. Incredibly, the report also mentions possible upgrades of the iPad and the Apple TV set-top box. Apple refreshed its large tablet with an A6X processor and a new Lightning connector just last month and without hiking the price.

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“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,” Digitimes said.

There has been some talk of increasing pressure on Apple to match up to the frequent product upgrades from its many Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android rivals, such as Samsung, especially in a scenario where the Korean company has maintained its growth momentum with its Galaxy line of devices. However, an important part of Apple’s marketing strategy involves the build-up of customer anticipation. Take the news with a fistful of salt.

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