Remember when Apple released one new smartphone each year? Those days may be over. Apple is rumored to be preparing test production for its iPhone 5S, a device some experts believe could launch in early 2013.

Apple iPhone 5S Preparing For December Production Test [Rumor]

 

Chinese-language publication The Commercial Times was the first to report the rumor. While the source is not always the most reliable, it has been known to grab Apple scoops from time to time.

If Apple adhere’s to its typical test production and release schedule that could mean a new iPhone just six months after the last was released.

Apple is also known for updating its iOS software only once per year, a schedule that would likely be disrupted if the company were to announce a six month release for the iPhone 5S.

It is likely that a new iPhone 5S would focus on improved hardware such as a faster processor, better camera, improved GPS, etc. By offering better hardware Apple can showcase device improvements without completely reworking its iOS platform in such a short period of time. Users will however likely see the newest sub-version of iOS on their devices.

Apple could follow in the footsteps of the Google Nexus line by bumping up specs on its device while keeping prices in-line with the current iPhone 5. Perhaps offering more memory, faster speeds or an improved display at no additional cost.

Why Apple would choose to change its production schedule is not known. However, quarter-over-quarter the Google Android OS continues to grab a larger share of the marketplace. Perhaps Apple is moving to a six-month release schedule to ensure that customers coming off of a wireless contract do not become impatient in their wait and simply choose a Samsung, Motorola or LG device.

While the source of the rumor is less than trustworthy, the idea of an iPhone 5s reaching market just six months after the release of the iPhone 5 makes sense in a lot of ways. On the other hand Apple suffered some humiliating production and operating system mistakes with the iPhone 5, perhaps releasing devices even faster without further testing wouldn’t be the best move for Apple.

[Image via phonecats]