iPhone 5S SIM tray (image 002)

Apple’s iPhone 5 is now almost seven months old so fans are expectedly setting their sights on a next-gen model, the iPhone 5S. And as we’re heading toward summer, new evidence indicates Apple is now lining up its Asian suppliers to source parts ahead of the actual manufacturing phase.

This could explain why we’re increasingly seeing supposedly genuine parts cropping up all over Asia, such as this Home buttons and vibrator motors. Today’s leak by Japanese parts shop Moumantai is thought to represent a SIM tray for the iPhone 5S.

It’s exactly the same in shape and size to the Nano SIM trays used on the current iPhone 5, with one exception: the leaked ones are in gray and gold colors. This matches up nicely with reports of a colorized iPhone 5S, mostly sourced from analyst reports and supply chain people…

Moumantai posted these images Monday morning on its blog.

The then-new Nano SIM trays were the first solid parts to emerge ahead of the September 2012 iPhone 5 announcement. Apple’s handset became the first consumer device to incorporate the smaller SIM tray which allows for its thin design.

iPhone 5S SIM tray (image 001)

This year, however, Nano SIMs are prevalent and come in a variety of colors so the significance of leaks such as this one may not be as large as it used to be last year.

Be that as it may, looks like Apple is gearing up to manufacture an iPhone 5 successor.

Both the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg, for example, insist Foxconn has lifted a recruitment freeze. The world’s top contract manufacturer is now reportedly hiring workers in the tens of thousands “as we will start mass-producing the new iPhone soon,” according to an unnamed Foxconn executive.

If you ask the reliable KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, the next batch of iDevices has been delayed until Fall due to several “technical challenges” related to manufacturing.

And on a related note, Reuters this morning shared a similar sentiment, reporting that the iPhone 5S has been delayed beyond June over fingerprint sensor issues.

“A supply chain source in Taiwan said Apple was trying to find a coating material that did not interfere with the fingerprint sensor, and this may be causing a delay,” the news gathering organization wrote.

AnoStyle teaser

Fingerprint scanning via a dedicated sensor hidden beneath the Home button is said to be one of the defining features of the next iPhone upgrade, in addition to a 13-megapixel camera with dual LED flash and a faster A7 chip.

And if you trust The Register, Apple continues to face woes with the current-generation iPhone. Having potentially returned up to eight million iPhones to Foxconn because the unites were reportedly unfit for sale, Foxconn is expected to take a $1+ billion hit over replacing the faulty units.