The iPhone 6 (or iPhone 5S) could be close to launch, if Apple's apparent cutting of production volume of its iPhone products is any indication of the company's plans.

On the other hand, it's also possible that the 20 percent reduction in iPhone production simply represents a slowing in demand for the iPhone 5 (which has been out for almost 10 months) and the still-older iPhone 4S and 4.

As reported in the Telegraph, Wedge Partners analyst Brian Blair has released revised estimates of Apple iPhone production for the second half of the year, and the figures are 20 percent down on earlier forecasts. Blair commented that this was "likely in response to what appears to be slowing demand for high-end handsets globally".

iPhone 6 concept illustration by Arthur Reis

iPhone 6 concept illustration by Arthur Reis

However, the numbers remain estimates; their speculative nature is illustrated by the fact that they include the anticipated iPhone 5S (or iPhone 6), whose release date has yet to be confirmed.

As usual with these kinds of analysis scares, Apple is the victim of its own success. Even the revised numbers are phenomenally high - Blair puts production at 90 to 100 million for the six-month period instead of 115-120 million - and represent an improvement of about 25 percent on the year before. Things just looked even rosier a few months ago.

Rising and falling demand is part of the natural cycle of smartphone refreshes, and we wouldn't rush to cash in your Apple stock just yet (although the AAPL share price has taken a small dip in response to the news). We've been here before: suppliers cut production of the iPhone 4 in summer 2011, and sure enough, the iPhone 4S came along in October to shift one or two units.

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