Production of the next iPhone's display component is set to begin, according to reports emanating from Japan.
Business-focused Japanese daily newspaper Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun claims that Sharp, LG, and Japan Display are ready to commence production of the iPhone 5S display panel.
Sharp in particular will start producing the panels in volume in June, claims the report. Apparently, the Japanese giant's Kameyama production plant has been underworked in recent times, but will be at full production for the new Apple smartphone.
The paper confirms that the specifications for the iPhone 5S (or whatever Apple chooses to call it) will be close to the current iPhone 5, so expect a similar design.
This seems to fit in with Apple's policy of launching major smartphone revamps every other year, with subtly upgraded models launched in between. As with the iPhone 4S, most expect the iPhone 5S to be practically identical to its predecessor externally, but with a faster processor and a superior camera.
One potential twist to the 'identical design' of the iPhone 5S is the suggestion that it might ship in a variety of colours other than the usual black or white.
Regardless of these design considerations, the truly progressive element of the iPhone 5S should be iOS 7. A number of reports have suggested that the next iPhone operating system - which will benefit older devices too, of course - will be a considerable departure from previous versions.
With Apple design supremo Jony Ive at the helm, Apple is apparently set to go with a bolder, flatter, more modern look that no longer relies on real life-imitating (also known as skeuomorphic) textures and shapes.
Check out what we think are the iOS 7 features Apple needs to catch Android.