A source inside Foxconn, the Chinese manufacturing plant that has traditionally built Apple devices over the years, claims that the production of the iPhone 5 is about to get under way. Considering that the iPhone 4S started production in April 2011, for an October release - a approximate six-month schedule - that would mean that the new handset will be due for a summer (June/July) release, and see Apple return into its normal launch pattern.

It is also claimed, by 9to5mac, that the whistleblower claims to have seen several sample devices that all differ from each other, so it is impossible to reveal which of them will be the final model (if any).

However, there are some things that are constant on them all, including a screen size that is over 4-inches. They claim that LG makes at least one of the displays, and that none of the handsets feature the teardrop style form factor that was "leaked" before the unveiling of the iPhone 4S.

They're not similar to the 4/4S either, though, with none of them featuring those models' trademark design. It is also pointed out that none of them are final versions, merely samples, as previously mentioned.

It is this latter fact that we at Pocket-lint worry about the most; if none of the samples seen are final models, how exactly does that mean that production has been started?

We're not the only ones to be wary of the source's claims either. John Gruber, from Daring Fireball, who has a reasonable record with all things Apple, disputes 9to5mac's revelation that "samples so far have been symmetrical in thickness (also longer/wider)".

"Longer and wider? Sounds like bullshit," he posts on his site. "I can see Apple putting a bigger display on a device of the same size. I can’t see them making a bigger device."

Needless to say, there will be much more said about the iPhone 5 between here and its launch, summer or otherwise.

What do you think? Do these rumours sound convincing to you? Should Apple be looking to make a larger device and release it in summer? Let us know in the comments below...

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