DigiTimes is reporting on a Chinese report from Commercial Times, wherein it is claimed that Apple will begin trial production of the iPhone 5S as early as next month. The report claims that low production yield of the iPhone 5 would be a driving factor behind the accelerated time table.
Getting into specifics, the report notes that the iPhone 5S could begin volume production in Q1 of 2013, which would suggest that a public launch would occur earlier than most of us would be expecting from Apple. In fact, from 2007 to 2010, Apple released a new iPhone model each summer. In 2011, the iPhone 4S was released in October, and this year’s iPhone 5 was also released in the fall. It would seem that Apple has realigned their release schedule for the fall, but if this report holds true, the next-generation iPhone could make it’s way into the hands of customers early sometime in 2013.
Now for my two cents. I really doubt this is the case for several reasons. First, I do not believe Apple would have bothered to realign their release schedule to the fall timeframe if they intended to begin releasing these products in the early part of the year, just a few generations later. Secondly, yield rates of the iPhone 5 may be below where Apple would like them, but I don’t believe they are so far behind that it has become detrimental to their bottom line. This report seems to suggest, when read between the lines, that Apple would be willing to retool and introduce a new design in a rapid manner, just to improve yield rates. Apple certainly has the capital to do so, but it doesn’t strike me as something they would do.