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Numerous reports suggest summer production for iPhone 5S

iPhone rumours continued this week, with reports that Apple's next-generation handset will begin production this summer, in advance of a third-quarter release.

AppleInsider cited Japanese newspaper Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun, which said Sharp will use its Kameyama Plant No. 1 to manufacture LCDs screens for the "iPhone 5S." Japan Display and LG Electronics have reportedly already started production on the smartphone displays.

Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty corroborated the report this week in a note to investors. Huberty visited tech suppliers in Asia, who said multiple new iPhone models will begin production in June or July, AppleInsider reported. She tipped a September launch, based on meetings in Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Huberty did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Apple hasn't made any announcement, but during a recent earnings call, Tim Cook said Apple is working on "amazing new hardware, software, and services that we can't wait to introduce this fall and throughout 2014."

Cook declined to elaborate when asked if that meant Apple would not introduce anything new over the summer. If so, however, that contradicts analyst reports that Cupertino would reveal a new iPhone (and low-cost smartphone) in June and introduce them in July.

The Nikkan report, meanwhile, suggested that the smartphone will be the same size and have a screen that's similar to the current model, VentureBeat pointed out.

As for that low-cost iPhone, Apple supplier Pegatron today announced an increase in its China workforce, fuelling speculation of a cheaper smartphone. According to Reuters, Pegatron currently employs 100,000 workers, but could increase that by 40 per cent in the second half of the year.