Whenever Apple decides to produce a new gadget, they usually commission suppliers and manufacturers a few weeks or months ahead. Deals have to be made, parts have to be purchased and the whole supply and production chain needs to align with Apple’s production roadmap before the actual manufacturing can begin. That Apple has not yet released iPhone 5 roadmap to Asian partners is an indication there are no immediate plans to manufacture the handset. Sources told Asian trade publication Digitimes:

Apple has not yet released a production roadmap for iPhone 5 as shipment volumes of iPhone 4 have continued to mount and related suppliers are not yet ready to shift their production lines for new products, according to sources at Taiwan-based touch panel makers.

The sources noted that touch panel shipments for iPhone 4 have remained steady and that suppliers have not been given a heads-up to begin preparations for a next-gen iPhone. Read on…

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This corroborates the rumors that iPhone 5 will undergo a major overhaul and therefore won’t be introduced before the year’s end or even early 2012. The report goes on to note that sources at other brand handset vendors believe an inexpensive iPhone is due for a summer release because of the Android pressure. In a separate story, Digitimes says RIM has placed large-volume orders for the PlayBook tablet with contract manufacturer Quanta Computers. The company is reportedly”internally optimistic” about the gizmo’s prospect in the marketplace. When the tablet arrives later this month, it’ll be the first branded slate to match Apple’s pricing on the low end.

The BlackBerry maker had to delay Playbook for a month because Apple essentially gobbled up existing touchscreen supplies. It is believed Apple used a portion of its $60 billion cash hoard to prepaid a multi-year supply of components at best prices.

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