HONG KONG (Reuters) - Apple suppliers will begin production of its next-generation iPhone in July this year, with the finished product likely to begin shipping in September, three people familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.
The new smartphone will have a faster processor but will look largely similar to the current iPhone 4, one of the people said. They declined to be identified because the plans were not yet public.
Suppliers to the current generation included camera module maker Largan Precision Co Ltd, touchscreen panel maker Wintek Corp and case maker Foxconn Technology Co Ltd, two of the people said.
The companies would begin production either in July or August before shipping components to Hon Hai Precision Industry Co Ltd, flagship of Foxconn Technology Group, for assembly, they said.
An Apple spokeswoman was not immediately available for comment.
The iPhone is one of Apple's most successful products, with more than 16 million sold in the last quarter of 2010 and accounting for more than a third of the company's sales in the period.
The current iPhone 4 was launched by Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs in June last year and began shipping the same month in 2010.
Apple is expected to report another spectacular quarter on Wednesday, tempered by growing caution over how supply constraints will squeeze margins and restrain iPhone and iPad sales.
(Reporting by Kelvin Soh; Editing by Chris Lewis)