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A recruiter for Foxconn – Apple’s primary iPhone, iPad and iPod touch manufacturer – has been recorded on a Japanese-language TV program stating the Cupertino-based company will release its next-gen iPhone as early as June.

The World Business Satellite showed aired footage on Monday of the recruiter for the plant in Taiyuan, who said Foxconn is "looking for 18,000 employees…for the fifth-generation phone." When asked if the high number was due to high demand for the iPhone 5, he responded, "That’s right. It will come out in June."

If true, this would give the iPhone 4S a mere 8 month shelf life, and with the unit still selling in the millions, it wouldn’t seem a logical move on Apple’s part to release a new product so soon. Furthermore, Apple made an absolute fortune in extra revenue by capturing the holiday season shoppers in 2011, so again, a move back to the summer would seem counterproductive. In addition, a recruitment consultant of fairly low rank is very unlikely to have been told such sensitive information some two months prior to the purported release. Apple keeps a secret like no other, leaving the tech world guessing until the 11th hour, so we’d be interested to know where his information was sourced

Foxconn’s factory has been under the spotlight in recent months for all the wrong reasons, with Apple accused of not fulfilling its duty of care to its main supplier. Despite Apple CEO Tim Cook’s visit to an iPhone production line at a Foxconn factory last week, concerning reports are still emerging, with campaigners today accusing Foxconn of employing forced interns. Apparently students are being forced to man production lines at Foxconn if they wish to graduate, according to Hong Kong-based nonprofit Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior, despite Foxconn chairman Terry Gou promising on Sunday to reduce working hours and improve pay to the 1.2 million workers of China’s largest private-sector firm.

The device itself has been dubbed the iPhone 5, but after the release of the unnamed new iPad, we’re presuming nothing. Moreover, the device would actually be the sixth-generation, so could in effect end up being named the iPhone 6.

For now, we’ll draw a line under this one as a fairly far-fetched rumor. It’s not impossible that we’ll see an iPhone before September/October, but it’s very, very unlikely.

(via Macotakara)

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