Apple is planning to begin production of its next-generation iPhone this quarter, readying the smartphone, dubbed iPhone 5S or iPhone 6, for a possible summer launch, according to a new report from The Wall Street Journal.

The company is also continuing to work on its rumoured low-cost iPhone in preparation for an unveiling that could happen as soon as the second half of this year, the report claims.

WSJ's sources say that Apple's new flagship iPhone, will look similar in size and shape to the iPhone 5. The sources didn't comment on how the tech specs of the new iPhone will differ from the iPhone 5, but it is likely that the processor will get an upgrade and we may see some camera improvements too. It's also expected that the next iPhone will run iOS 7. SEE: iPhone 6 release date, rumours and leaked images

As for the low-cost iPhone, Apple is reportedly working with its manufacturing partners in Asia to build the device, which will have a 4in screen and a different casing to the high-end phone, WSJ's sources have said. Apple has been working on different colour casings for the cheaper iPhone, they added, noting that the company's final plans surrounding new colour models are still unclear.


WSJ says that Apple's plans to launch two new iPhones this year "reflect new pressures" on the company from rivals such as Samsung, which launches products on a more regular basis.

"There isn't really any major differentiator between the players at this phase," Strategy Analytics analyst Neil Mawston believes. "The panacea is to transform the industry with a revolutionary design," he said, but until then "you have to do the traditional business school implementations like manage costs and move quicker than rivals."

This week, it's been reported that the next two iPhones were designed under the leadership of Apple's late co-founder Steve Jobs, according to the company's government liaison, who apparently told District Attorney George Gascón that the upcoming two models had "preceded" Apple's current CEO Tim Cook.

See also:

iPhone 6 rumours: Apple, Samsung to launch smartphones with wireless charging this year?
Apple iPhone 5 launch was subject of 5 times more tweets than Samsung's Galaxy S4, analysis reveals
iPhone 6 concept shows ultra-thin design with 'touch anywhere' Home button and 'iSight Pro' camera
Analyst: iPhone price pressure means smartphone profits have peaked

Analysts continue to forecast a 2013 launch for low-cost iPhone, summer arrival for iPhone 6

iPhone 6 rumour rollup: iPhone 5S to be announced in June, no fingerprint sensor, Messenger app