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The Wall Street Journal reports that Apple will begin production of its next-generation iPhone during Q2 2013. The report reiterates previous claims that Apple’s next flagship smartphone will sport a design akin to the current iPhone 5. Production of this “iPhone 5S” device during Q2 could point to a release this summer. Previous claims have said that the next iPhone could launch as soon as August.

Apple Inc. AAPL +1.09% plans to begin production of a new iPhone similar in size and shape to its current one in the second quarter of the year, according to people familiar with the device’s production, teeing up a possible summer launch for the next version of its flagship device.

Various analysts previously said that Apple would debut an “iPhone 5S” like device during summer 2013. Some have said that the new iPhone will come in multiple color options much like the recently released fifth-generation iPod touch. The WSJ hints that Apple has been at least toying with that idea. While keeping the iPhone 5’s design, this iPhone 5S will likely include a faster chip and an improved camera sensor…

The faster chip has already been dubbed by some as the “A7″ (which makes sense as the successor to the iPhone 5’s “A6″), and other rumors have claimed that the next iPhone could feature a much improved 13-megapixel camera sensor. Like previous iPhone cameras, this sensor could be sourced from Sony.

Other interesting features from the rumor-mill include a finger-print sensor system sourced from Apple’s agreement to acquire sensor developer Authentec. We previously profiled some hardware-exclusive software that Apple could include in its next iPhone update.

Additionally, the WSJ reiterates its previous claims that a cheaper iPhone is in the works for this year. That device appears to still be on track for a launch during the second half of this year. Corroborating claims from others, the WSJ says that this iPhone will feature a 4-inch display (like the iPhone 5). It will likely feature a casing made of different materials than the iPhone 5’s shell.

The WSJ also says the next version of iOS is coming in “midyear:”

Apple is also expected to ship the next version of its iOS mobile operating system around midyear, other people familiar with the matter have said.

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