Apple is expected to begin placing orders for the 'iPhone 5S' (also dubbed iPhone 6) and next-generation iPad early next year, according to new reports.

DigiTimes claims that Apple suppliers will see strong results for the first quarter of 2013, boosted by 'iPhone 5S' and iPad 5 or iPad mini 2 component orders from the company.

"Apple is expected to introduce its next-generation iPad and iPhone series around the middle of 2013, which will boost demand for ICs in particular communications related chips during the latter half of the first quarter," the report reads, citing 'market observers'. "Component orders placed by Apple, which climbed to high levels prior to the iPhone 5 rollout, will rise again between March and April, the observers indicated."

This is not the first we've heard of Apple's upcoming seventh-generation iPhone since the launch of the iPhone 5 in September. Earlier this month, DigiTimes claimed that Apple would begin trial production of the 'iPhone 5S' and iPad mini 2 in December, and a Chinese site 'announced' a 2013 launch of the next iPhone.

It has been suggested that, in order to keep up with the competition and ensure that its products have the most up-to-date technology, Apple needs to reduce its iPhone launch schedule from yearly to once every six months. We have already seen the fourth-generation iPad arrive just seven months after its predecessor in October.

See also:

Apple iPad mini review
iPhone 6 rumour rollup for the week ending 16 November
Envisioning the iPhone 6
Apple may bring out iPhone 6 in the spring, report
Apple Television and iPhone 5S to launch early 2013

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