A new report states that Apple will begin a trial production run of the sucessor to the iPhone 5 in December. The report, published in China's Commercial Times, says that 50,000 to 100,000 units of the "iPhone 5S" will be manufactured.
The report also claims that the new iPhone, a new iPad version, and the long-rumored Apple HDTV (iTV) will all be released in the first half of 2013. This claim seems extraordinary, especially since the shipping window for new orders of the current iPhone 5 slipped back again this week.
Going by the Commercial Times' report, Apple is producing the trial run to prepare its manufacturing processes for the inevitably huge demand it expects for the device. Apple is shifting away from using some Samsung components in its devices, and is having to put together a team of disparate manufacturers to make up for it. Apple hasn't been able to find an alternate supplier for Samsung's processors, however, and Samsung this week announced a 20% price increase on the components.
If the rumors of an iPhone 5S in the first half on next year are true, it could mean that Apple really is shifting its traditional yearly product refreshes to a new six-month refresh schedule. The demand for the current iPhone shows that a six-month release schedule certainly is possible for Apple, but customers may have a hard time choking up hundreds of dollars twice a year. Especially if the newer devices are only marginal improvements over the old ones. The release of the newest version of the iPad came just six months after the release of the previous version, a fact which upset many Apple customers.