The first iPhone 5S images are beginning to emerge on the web as reports from Taiwan claim that Apple has already begun trial production of its seventh-generation handset.
A comparison of the alleged iPhone 5S rear shell and the one housing the parts of a genuine iPhone 5 shows differences between the logic board screw holes (boxed in red), as well as other slight discrepancies.
The back markings using “X” designations indicate that this is prototype hardware, though not necessarily new.
The casing shown off by parts company ETrade Supply could well be an old prototype shell for the initial iPhone 5 testing batch which has only surfaced now.
The part does look genuine enough to pass for real Apple hardware. The media calls Apple’s next iPhone iteration the “iPhone 5S,” keeping in line with the company’s traditional incremental dubbing (iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4S).
According to Taiwanese trade publication DigiTimes citing market observers, contract chipmaker Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), and packager Advanced Semiconductor Engineering (ASE) are expected to post strong profits in the first quarter of 2013, mainly because Cupertino has hired them to make chips for the iPhone 5S.
Both companies have already entered Apple’s supply chain for the next-generation iPhone, with component orders from Cupertino expected to rise between March and April, according to said observers.
A separate report from analyst Amit Daryanani (cited by AppleInsider) suggests Apple may not have a new A-series processor ready for the next iPhone refresh, and perhaps even for the iPhone 6.
Citing rumors that Apple will dump Samsung’s services for SoC manufacturing, Daryanani believes Cupertino will struggle to get another company to churn up new A-series chips any time too soon.