Updated from 12:16 p.m. EST to add iPhone 5 clone details in the sixth paragraph.
NEW YORK (
) -- It looks as if
(AAPL - Get Report)
is gearing up production of the iPhone 5S, judging by pictures circulating around the Internet.
Chinese news Web site
has 13 images of a handset that looks incredibly similar to the iPhone 5, which it believes is Apple's next-gen smartphone, the iPhone 5S. The images were reportedly taken inside a
factory, further adding credence to the story.
Foxconn is Apple's manufacturing partner in China.
While the images don't show any drastic changes to the outward appearance of the phone, they do provide a rather in-depth look at the insides of the iPhone, detailing chip placement and where certain circuit boards are placed. This type of in-depth look is usually provided when a repair Web site, such as
, gets its hands on a newly released device. This, therefore, is a treat for Apple fans and the media alike if the pictures are real.
There's been much speculation about what Apple will do with its iPhone line, as there are concerns about demand for the device, despite the fact Apple sold 47.8 million iPhones in its
. On a conference call, Goldman Sachs analyst Bill Shope asked about screen size, in light of the fact competitors such as
are increasingly moving toward larger screens, perhaps stealing some of Apple's thunder. CEO Tim Cook responded by saying that "no one comes close to matching the level of quality as the Retina display." The iPhone 5 now has a 4-inch screen, and Apple will not compromise on the one-handed ease of use. "So, we put a lot of thinking into screen size and believe we've picked the right one," Cook said.
The release date of the iPhone 5S has been the subject of intense speculation. There are rumors that Apple could release a cheaper version of the iPhone, with Topeka Capital Markets analyst Brian White expecting the device to cost around $300 and launch as early as June. Apple could release the iPhone 5S along with the cheaper iPhone (assuming one exists), or keep the fall product launch, as it has done in the past.
Update: the images may be of an iPhone 5, and not a new device. The MacRumors Web site reports that the device in question is clearly not an iPhone for a number of reasons. The battery capacity is much smaller, it has an SD card slot, loose red and black wiring, and a connector that is strikingly different from Apple's Lightning connector.
Shares of Apple were higher in Monday trading, up 1.53% to $482.24.
Apple CEO Tim Cook will be speaking at the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference on Feb. 12, which
will be live-blogging from 10 AM ET:
--Written by Chris Ciaccia in New York