While it’s pretty much a given that Apple will make some kind of announcement this year about the next-generation iPhone, it’s still unknown exactly when that media conference will happen. There’s strong speculation suggesting that the upcoming WWDC 2013 in San Francisco will be used once again as a software platform, effectively allowing Apple to introduce iOS 7. It seems unlikely that the Cupertino company will revert back to a June launch date for any new iPhone hardware, especially with the latest industry speculation suggesting that Sharp is set to ramp up their LCD panel production line to fulfill the required quota of iPhone 5S displays, beginning next month.
Officially speaking, we don’t know if Apple will continue with previous naming conventions for the next iPhone and launch it as the iPhone 5S or if they’ll go down a different route. Regardless of the device name the rumors are suggesting that Sharp will utilize the technical expertise and facilities at their Kameyama Plant in Japan to start mass producing the required LCD panels. If main production of the important LCDs is indeed set to begin in the coming months, it would seem that Apple are intending to launch the seventh-generation iPhone on the same release schedule as the current model iPhone 5.
The business comes at an extremely important time for Sharp who have seen their revenues decrease significantly over the last twelve months. It also seems that Apple have instructed Japan Display to get underway with production of panels that are also destined to form part of the next iPhone. If that is the case then it would appear that the fruit company are playing it smart and spreading their requirements over a number of outlets as Japan Display is made up of Sony, Hitachi, Toshiba and LG Display.
In terms of what we should be expecting from any 2013 iPhone release, it seems pretty safe to say that there won’t be any huge surprises coming our way. Although Apple has been discussing the potential for introducing a device with a larger 5-inch display, it’s widely expected that this year’s release will feature the same 4-inch form factor that was introduced with the iPhone 5. The device will ship with iOS 7 and a range of other incremental upgrades that will definitely improve the user-experience but from an aesthetic view then it should be business as normal.