9to5Mac is reporting that they have received information which claims that Apple’s manufacturing partner, Foxconn, is preparing to begin production of the iPhone 5, with a launch for this summer. Of course, this would suggest that Apple would be attempting to return to their mid-year release cycle for their iPhone line. Remember, the iPhone 4S was the first model revision to be introduced in the fall, and not mid-year.
The report also goes on to suggest the new device will be be longer and wider, but lack the teardrop form factor that had been rumored prior to the introduction of the iPhone 4S. That said, they also claim that none of the devices are final versions yet.
On the other side of this report, the ever-well informed John Gruber of Daring Fireball flat-out denies that Apple is preparing for production of the iPhone 5. He also doubts the idea of Apple creating a longer or wider iPhone, although this both of information is presented in the form of speculation.
I tend to agree with Gruber here. The iPhone 4S is new, and will be new for a full year. Apple functions on an annual cycle. They had enough of a lead with the iPhone 4, and with the iPod line withering on the vine, they decided to move the iPhone refresh cycle to the fall, ahead of the holiday season. I’ll eat my hat if the new iPhone is introduced any other time than this fall.