We’ve heard an unusual amount of chatter regarding the next generation iPhone over the past few months. Especially since the iPhone 5 just launched 6 months ago. But folks seem pretty certain that Apple’s next smartphone isn’t too far off.

And a new report out this morning echoes that sentiment. Citing “people familiar with the device’s production,” The Wall Street Journal claims that Apple is ramping up production of its new iPhone this quarter ahead of a likely summer launch…

“Apple Inc. AAPL +0.27% plans to begin production of a new iPhone similar in size and shape to its current one in the second quarter of the year, according to people familiar with the device’s production, teeing up a possible summer launch for the next version of its flagship device.”

The Journal’s report jibes well with other timeframes we’ve been hearing. Last week, the oft-accurate Macotakara reported that the new iPhone would launch in June. And both DigiTimes and KGI Securities’ Ming-Chi Kuo corroborate the date.

Apple’s next handset is expected to be the iPhone 5S. Word is that it will look similar to its predecessor but feature a faster processor, improved camera system, and possibly a fingerprint scanner. It’s also believed that a budget model is coming.

The WSJ has something to say about that as well:

“At the same time, Apple continues to work with its manufacturing partners in Asia on a less expensive iPhone that could be launched as soon as the second half of this year, these people said. The 4-inch device will likely use a different casing from the higher-end iPhone. Apple has been working on different color shells for the phone but its plans remain unclear.”

The budget iPhone is rumored to be made of a metal and plastic mix, and come with a full retail price tag less than $300. Such a product is uncharacteristic for Apple, but it will help it make inroads into larger, difficult markets like India and China.

  • Can’t wait! My update drops 5/23/2013!

  • pauleebe

    It would seem Apple is accelerating iDevice release dates (as they should, they are primary revenue drivers), but more to the tune of 8-10 months. A 5S in June/July surely means no iPhone 6 until at least 2014.

    • probably the beginning of 2014 is what i bet on. Production is increasing, i think, because apple is beginning to enlarge the handset selection. Its not a phone a year.. they’re gearing up for a possible two or three. maybe more eventually like other phone maunfacturers I’d be excited to see apple with a full fledged lineup of phones as long as they each have their own identities to set them apart. I feel Samasung missed that mark. Their devices are all so similar (not so much the s4 but its not out yet to discuss it anyway)

      • pauleebe

        Please not more than two handsets.

  • I doubt that there will be any sort of fingerprint scanner on the 5S, improved camera yes, scanner no. It just seems like that is something they would integrate with a new design release of an iPhone, probably next year. Again I am only speculating because I do not work at Apple and know nothing more than the next guy.

    • Kurt

      I laugh each time I read these predictions. This is Apple. We won’t be getting one. I’d rather have a stylus like the Galaxy Note. That would be more useful. But of course I would rather have both. But it won’t happen as we still have yet to get NFC, which I use daily here

  • San Sanco

    its just an S. Which is the best of each number device. Id never buy a 5 or 6 or a 7 but a 5s, 6s or 7s yes. Every new phone in the number without letter series has huge issues. The S is there to save face. The 6s Ill pass on because unless they fix the untra thin and unreadable screen and widen it the S won’t save them this time.

  • I’m still 50/50 thinking that the iPhone 5S will be a Summer release. A Fall release could make sense too. Do I want it this summer? Well, it would be nice to upgrade to iOS 7 at the beginning of the summer rather than wait until the fall. The iPhone 4S users will all be due for an upgrade around June/July (October 2011 – June 2013 corresponds with the 20 month upgrade cycle that most carriers conduct). I mean, I don’t see why Apple should feel bad about releasing a new iPhone just because they release one 6 months ago. iPhone 5 users won’t be due for an upgrade until Summer of 2014, which could definitely debut the iPhone 6. I think summer makes great sense, especially to compete with Samsung.

  • So, this thing… this cheap iPhone you talk about… that’s really gonna happen, eh? I don’t know.. it still feels like someone’s been playing a prank.