Apple is said to have given Sharp the contract to produce the liquid crystal panel for the next iPhone, and a new report in Japanese newspaper Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun suggests that work is to commence in June.

According to that report, Sharp will be assisted by LG and the Japan Display group, which includes Sony, Hitachi, Toshiba and the INCJ. The report indicates that Apple has already placed its orders with the above companies.

The production will happen at the May Kameyama Plant No. 1 which has been "plagued by sluggish occupancy rate since the beginning of the year," according to the report, as a result the "full production of 600 million units a month" is good news for the plant, it would seem.

Apparently the device will be similar to the current iPhone 5 in shape and capabilities. WSJ sources in April also claimed that Apple's new iPhone will look similar in size and shape to the iPhone 5. Other reports have suggested that the new iPhone may be available in multiple colours.

Should production start in June we cant really expect a launch date before August or September. MacRumors notes that earlier this year it was thought that iPhone 5S manufacturer would begin in March and that the phone would see a summer release. However, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo suggested that production challenges relating to the fingerprint sensor have caused delays. "Apple has to work out how to prevent interference from the black and white coating material under the cover glass," he said, in mid April.

Earlier this year, Kuo predicted that Apple's next-generation iPhone will have a built-in fingerprint sensor, which could be situated beneath the Home button, as well as an improved camera and an A7 chip.

SEE: iPhone 6 release date, rumours and leaked images.

The news follows reports this week that Apple will ship a budget iPhone this year and it will cost around $350-$400 (£226-£259). This news will please carriers in emerging markets who are unable to subsidize a more expensive iPhone adequately for the market.

This also adds weight to a Wall Street Journal report that suggested that iPhone 5S production would begin in the second quarter.

Sharp is also said to be working on a screen for the rumoured Apple Television.

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