Rumor: 'iPhone 5S' components to ship in May ahead of 3Q launch

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Adding to the pile of rumors regarding the so-called "iPhone 5S," a report on Wednesday claims Apple's partner suppliers will begin shipping parts for the iPhone 5 follow-up by the end of May, with assembly of the smartphone to follow soon after.

The sometimes reliable DigiTimes citied upstream supply chain sources as saying the May timeline could yield a next-generation Apple handset by the third quarter, largely in line with analyst expectations and the company's usual annual refresh cycle.

It was reported earlier in March that Apple would debut an "S series" update to its iPhone lineup alongside a low-cost handset in August. Other estimates peg the release a bit earlier in the June to July period, while one rumor claims Foxconn has already started production of the "5S" on the same assembly lines as the current iPhone 5.

Sources also cited their "latest specification data" and reiterated existing rumors that the handset's design will remain largely unchanged from the iPhone 5. As for internal component upgrades, enhancements are said to include a higher megapixel camera and a faster processor.

Many of the predictions reported on Wednesday echo those made in January by analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who believes the iPhone 5S and low-cost fiberglass hybrid iPhone will launch in the third quarter. He also expects the cheaper model to boast the same 4-inch display found on the iPhone 5.