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Analyst: Apple iPhone 5S hitting shelves in September

Apple is gearing up to begin production on the iPhone 5S later this month with the goal of releasing it in late September or early October, Jefferies analyst Peter Misek has written in a note to investors.

In addition to the iPhone 5S, Apple also last month started production of the much-rumoured lower-cost iPhone, which will be priced at around $300 to $400 (£198-£264), he added.

Misek believes Apple will put in orders for 25 to 30 million iPhone units during the autumn quarter, then ramp up to 50 to 55 million units during the holiday period. For the quarter beginning in December, Apple plans to build around five million iPhone 4S handsets, 20 million low-cost iPhones, and 25 million iPhone 5S handsets.

"Although the large build plan indicates Apple's confidence in the new product launches, we remain cautious as our checks indicate mostly incremental feature upgrades for the iPhone 5S," the report notes. "The Galaxy S4 continues to take share and the iPhone 5S will also have to compete with Google's Moto X phone."

If you were hoping the iPhone 5S would look completely different to its predecessors, you'd better not hold your breath.

We should note that Misek's past predictions haven't always been completely accurate. The analyst previously forecasted that iPhone 5S production would begin in March for a June or July release. In addition, last year he incorrectly predicted that the launch of an Apple-branded television set was near.

His latest forecast does, however, follow reports that contract manufacturing giant Foxconn has been recruiting factory workers to build Apple's next iPhone. The Foxconn hiring push is being conducted "specifically for production of a new iPhone model."

For now, we'll just have to wait and see what Apple has in store.