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According to Peter Misek, Apple will begin mass production of its next flagship smartphone, believed to be the iPhone 5S, later this month. The Jefferies analyst issued a note to investors this morning saying that the handset will launch in late September or early October.

Misek’s report comes hot on the heels of a story from Chinese Business News claiming that Foxconn has restarted mass-hiring assembly line workers in the Chinese mainland to prepare for 5S production. It too said Apple was preparing for an early to mid-fall introduction…

BusinessInsider has more on Misek’s note:

“Apple will begin production of the iPhone 5S at the end of this month, Jefferies analyst Peter Misek reports. He says the new iPhone is likely to be released in either late September or early October. It’s not going to help the September quarter.

He also says Apple has already begun production of its lower-cost iPhone, which he believes will sell for $300-$400, without a subsidy. At that price, it’s more a mid-tier phone, and “it will not be competitive in emerging markets,” according to Misek.”

It’s worth noting that despite being a highly regarded analyst, Peter Misek has a pretty hit-or-miss track record when it comes to Apple intel. In fact, earlier this year he claimed that 5S production would begin in March, ahead of a July launch. So pinch of salt and all that stuff.

That being said, Misek’s note from this morning is corroborated by other reports and evidence. We’ve seen an increasing number of iPhone part leaks over the past few weeks, suggesting that production is ramping up. And we’re all but certain the handset is launching this fall.

His data on the cheaper iPhone also matches up with previous chatter, which has suggested the device won’t be inexpensive. Misek expects the “mid-tier” device to be very popular for Apple this holiday season, and says it’s ordered 20M of them, alongside 25M iPhone 5S units.