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Like clockwork, Apple's well-established annual iPhone release cycle is on track once again, as a new report claims the company's suppliers are prepared to begin shipping the "iPhone 7" and "iPhone 7 Plus" by the end of the third quarter.
That timetable, reported on Tuesday by DigiTimes, would see the next-generation iPhone models on track for launch by the end of September. Apple has launched new iPhones in September since the debut of the iPhone 5 on Sept. 21, 2012, and last year the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus arrived in the hands of consumers on Sept. 25.
Tuesday's report alleges that the new 4.7-inch iPhone will see assembly split between Foxconn and Pegatron, while Foxconn and Wistron will handle the larger 5.5-inch model. Wistron's alleged assembly of the "iPhone 7 Plus" would be a change-up for Apple, which hasn't partnered with that assembler since the iPhone 5c.
It was also said that Apple has queued up multiple suppliers for the "iPhone 7" launch to reduce risks. At least two suppliers are on tap for many of the device's major components, including batteries, the report said.
DigiTimes has a mixed track record in predicting Apple's future product plans, but its supply chain sources do, on occasion, provide reliable information about upcoming launches. And Apple's consistent annual release pattern for the iPhone would strongly suggest consumers waiting to upgrade can bank on a late September launch.
The so-called "iPhone 7" is expected to feature a thinner design that could ditch the legacy 3.5-millimeter headphone jack, instead relying on Lightning- and Bluetooth-connected headphones. Leaked schematics suggest the external appearance will be largely similar to the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6 series, though the antenna lines on the back of the handset will be removed.