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Apple is set to begin mass production of the next-generation iPhone next week, the Economic Daily reported today. According to the report, the smaller 4.7-inch model will enter production in the third week of July, while the larger 5.5-inch variant will enter production in the second week of August. The bigger of the two models is said to be facing production setbacks that could lead to a much later launch date than its smaller cousin.

iPhone manufacturer Foxconn added some credence to the timing of the production rumors by officially confirming plans originally reported earlier this month to hire 100,000 new workers to build the upcoming device. Sapphire crystal for the displays (which we’ve recently seen in multiple videos) has been in production at Apple’s Mesa, AZ plant for several months now in preparation for mass production.

From the Economic Daily report (translated):

Hon Hai yesterday (17) days in Henan massive Foxconn unwilling to comment on the issue of recruitment. It is understood that version 4.7 is expected in July inch iPhone6 the first three weeks to begin mass production, mass production time, compared with 5.5 inches the first two weeks in August.

Some reports have claimed that only the larger model iPhone 6 will get a sapphire display, though that seems to be contradicted by the existence of the 4.7-inch sapphire displays seen in the aforementioned videos. Another improvement to the next-gen smartphone that will reportedly be limited to the higher-end model is optical image stabilization in the camera.

Both devices will be the first to take advantage of Foxconn’s recently-purchased line of robotic production tools. The 4.7-inch iPhone is expected to ship to consumers this fall. The 5.5-inch model is rumored to be facing delays until as late as 2015.

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