Rumor: next-gen iPad, iPhone expected around the middle of 2013

If the latest rumor out of Asia is anything to go by, this year’s Fall release of the iPhone 5 was an anomaly as Apple could be reverting back to its mid-year refresh cycle for the iPhone. At the same time, the company is rumored to be releasing a next-generation iPad around the middle of 2013, breaking away from its usual first-quarter release schedule for the tablet. As always, it pays to take the news with a grain of salt as this comes via the somewhat reliable DigiTimes…

The trade publication reported Monday morning:

Apple is expected to introduce its next-generation iPad and iPhone series around the middle of 2013, which will boost demand for ICs in particular communications related chips during the latter half of the first quarter, according to the observers.

Component orders placed by Apple, which climbed to high levels prior to the iPhone 5 rollout, will rise again between March and April, the observers indicated.

The story also mentions that chipmaker Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) and packager Advanced Semiconductor Engineering have both entered Apple’s supply chain. “TSMC has not directly grabbed orders from Apple”, the report notes, “but has secured contract-manufacturing orders for many ICs used in the iOS devices”.

Chinese Economic News Service previously reported that TSMC will begin making quad-core mobile chips for Apple beginning 2014. Many check point to Samsung losing the Apple account soon.

For example, Samsung in a purported denial of the rumored Apple chips price hike indicated its contract with Apple doesn’t expire until 2014. And per analysts, without long-term commitment beyond end of 2013, Samsung is refusing to spend billions of dollars on boosting output at its Austin, Texas plant that produces chips for iPhones, iPads and iPods.

Although DigiTimes is wrong more often than not, their supply chain chatter is usually pretty accurate. The publication also reported last week that  Apple plans to begin trial production of the iPhone 5S in December as low yields continue to affect availability of the iPhone 5.

What do you guys think?

When can we expect the next iPhone and iPad?