It's barely December and we're already starting to see iPhone 5s rumors sprout up. Now, given that the iPhone 5 hasn't even been out for a full three months, one can reasonably argue that any iPhone 5s rumor making the rounds this early isn't likely to pan out. And while I'm inclined to agree with that sentiment, some manufacturing problems with the iPhone 5 may suggest otherwise.
As you likely remember, Apple's initial supply of the iPhone 5 was lower than the demand company had planned for. As a result, it took Apple a few solid weeks to ramp up production and have supply match demand. The root of the problem was lower than expected yields on the iPhone display. As one might expect, manufacturing a complex and super-high-tech device like the iPhone 5 while keeping it breathtakingly thin is no small feat. It therefore came as no surprise when a Foxconn official said that the iPhone 5 is the hardest device the company has ever had to assemble.
That said, a report from the Commercial Times back in late November relayed that Apple, in a concerted effort to prevent supply shortages of the iPhone 5s, decided to push up its trial production and certification process for the device to as early as December.
And now that we find ourselves in early December, surprise surprise, an alleged photo of the rear shell of the iPhone 5s has already emerged. The photos originated from ETrade Supply, a supply parts firm who posted several photos online earlier today.
There's not too much to glean from the photo, but you will notice that the screw alignment on the logic board is noticeably different on the iPhone 5s than on the iPhone 5.
This iPhone 5S part is, however, distinctly different from its iPhone 5 counterpart in several ways, most obviously in the arrangement of the screw holes for attaching the logic board. From ETrade Supply:
Inside the rear housing, we can find some changes when comparing it with iPhone 5. First, the “iPhone 5s” has two less screw holes on the left side which are used to fasten the LCD. Second, the position of 3 screw holes used to fasten the logic board has been removed (not sure whether caused by the change of logic board).
For all we know, the part in question is from an old iPhone 5 prototype Apple never made use of, but given reports that Apple was pushing up trial production on the iPhone 5s, not to mention reports claiming that Apple's next-gen iPhone may launch sometime in the Spring of 2013, the photos are certainly worth mentioning.
And in other iPhone news, Apple earlier this week announced that the iPhone 5 will become available in 50 new countries later this month, including population-heavy countries like China and Brazil.