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Wednesday, April 13, 2011, 06:05 am PT (09:05 am ET)

Touch panel makers say Apple hasn't released iPhone 5 production roadmap yet

Component suppliers from Asia have said that Apple has not yet released a production roadmap for the iPhone 5, providing further evidence that the company is planning a later-than-usual launch for its fifth-generation handset.

Citing sources at Taiwan-based touch panel makers, DigiTimes reported Wednesday that shipment volumes for the iPhone 4 continue to grow. In addition, Apple's chain of suppliers are not yet ready to shift their production lines for new products.

Suppliers typically receive a timetable to stop production of the current product to prepare for the next-generation device. But instead, iPhone 4 touch panel shipments have remained steady.

Sources in Apple's supply chain offered two different interpretations of the situation: Some believe Apple will slightly modify the iPhone 4 and release it in June or July as it has done in years past, while others see a possible "major overhaul" with the iPhone 5 coming at a later date.

Those in the latter camp said that it's possible Apple has faced some design and component issues that need to be resolved. Such complications could push back the debut of the iPhone 5, an event that one rumor has said is unlikely to occur until Apple's 2012 fiscal year, which begins in late September.

Apple typically shows off new iPhone hardware at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco, scheduled to be held this year June 6 through 10. However, numerous reports have indicated that while Apple will use the event to show off the next version of its iOS mobile operating system, no new hardware will be introduced this year.