updated 10:59 am EST, Wed December 5, 2012
Photos show sublte differences in shell design
New photos depict what could be a rear shell for the next-generation iPhone, claims parts company ETrade Supply. The shell is noted to be similar to the one for the iPhone 5, but with some small differences, such as repositioned screw holes for the logic board. If the image is indeed of a new part, and not something like a discarded prototype, it suggests that the next iPhone may only be a minor evolution.
Recently, Digitimes claimed that trial production of a new iPhone would start this month. Full-scale production might supposedly start as soon as Q1 2013. While extremely early, given that the 5 only debuted in September, Apple could be hoping to accelerate the iPhone's update cycle to keep up with the rapid advances being made by Android devices. While companies like Samsung will often release a whole collection of new Android phones every year, Apple has only ever produced one new iPhone on an annual cycle.
ETrade is dubbing the next iPhone the 5S. That name would be consistent with earlier "in-between" models, namely the iPhone 3GS and 4S.