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Report: Suppliers haven't seen iPhone 5 sked yet

More hints that next iPhone won't arrive at usual time come from new report saying touch panel makers still continue to produce screens for existing model with no sign of that slowing down.

Suppliers of the iPhone's screen say they're still building screens for the current model.
Suppliers of the iPhone's screen say they're still building screens for the current model. Apple

Building on reports that the next generation iPhone isn't coming until near the end of this year, Digitimes reports that Taiwan-based touch-screen makers are still in the dark about Apple's needs for the new device.

Citing anonymous sources within touch-panel manufacturing, the outlet says production is still under way for iPhone 4 panels since the phone continues to sell, signaling that Apple is not immediately planning to move production toward a new product.

Apple sold a record number of iPhone 4s in the previous quarter with 16.2 million units. An analyst report from RBC Capital Markets released yesterday estimated Apple besting that by nearly a million in its most recent quarter.

Signals that Apple might not be planning to release a new version of the iPhone around its usual summer time frame cropped up last month, with a Japanese report noting Apple wasbehind its usual refresh schedule and still mulling materials for the back of the device, possibly replacing the hardened glass with a metal backing.

Over the weekend an analyst report from Avian Securities citing sources within the component supply chain echoed a similar sentiment, saying production was likely to begin in the September time frame, some three months after new versions of the iPhone have typically been made available.

Besides the back of the phone, the screen itself remains of particular interest given rumors of Apple planning to expand its size from the longstanding 3.5 inches to a larger 4 inches. Such a change would be a departure from the form factor that's remained on the iPhone and iPod Touch since the launch of both products. Assuming Apple keeps its high-density Retina Display, the shift could mean a new resolution, something developers would have to adjust their applications to optimize for, the same way they had to during the jump between the iPhone 3GS and the iPhone 4.

Rumors of what features will be included in the new device have run rampant over the past few months, including things like a near field communications chip to enable things such as mobile payments and close-range data transfer, enhanced voice controls, and support for latest generation cellular networks like 4G LTE and WiMax. A new camera has also been pinpointed, reportedly one made by Sony, which had been delayed owing to tsunami damage to Sony's manufacturing facilities in Japan.

Apple's next big media event is the Worldwide Developers Conference, slated for the second week of June. The company has said it will show developers "the future of iOS and Mac OS X," which could very well include more about the next iPhone's arrival.