Jefferies analyst Peter Misek says that Apple is slated to start production of the iPhone 5S in March for a June/July launch, and a concentrated low-cost iPhone is also expected reports MacRumors.
“Our checks indicate that preliminary builds for the iPhone 5S will start in March for a launch in June/July. As word of the earlier production schedule starts to spread, we believe we could see a slight slowing of demand CQ1 in anticipation of the new product launch and Apple will likely start curtailing channel inventory.”
Misek has seen signs of two iPhone 5S prototypes in testing although one may be the cheaper iPhone widely rumored of late. Misek says that the low-cost iPhone "looks close to being greenlit or may already have been.
“Similar to the iPad mini, we expect a concentrated low-cost iPhone rather than a "cheap" one. Likely specs: polycarbonite case with 4" non-Retina display and no LTE. We believe a new low-cost iPhone would increase Apple's share, decrease [gross margins], but have little impact on [earnings per share].”
Additionally, Misek said he is no longer seeing signs of a 4.8-inch iPhone but the larger form factor may be for the iPhone 6. Misek also reasons that recent reports of iPhone component order cuts are due to an assembly bottleneck that's caused an oversupply of components and the ramping down of production ahead of the new iPhone 5S.