Right on schedule, the reports of Apple slowing down current generation iPhone production are hitting the internet. Just like parts leaks, case leaks, and all types of rumors, production reports are one of the signposts we all must pass coming down the long road to a new Apple product release, and this year certainly won't be any different. At least not now that Sterne Agee analyst Shaw Wu has claimed Apple has cut back on its iPhone manufacturing between 20% and 25% since last quarter.

This is a trend that we had seen prior to the launch of the iPhone 4S. We're expecting an iPhone 5 launch in the fall, so this would give manufacturing partners a chance to get everything in place for what will no doubt be a busy few months leading up to the holidays. Wu estimates Apple's potential iPhone shipments to be in the neighborhood of 26 to 28 million units. While iPhone shipments may be dropping, Wu said iPad production is set to dial up to around 15 million units.

Although analyst estimates are hardly bulletproof, it's good to see previous rumors of a fall launch for the iPhone 5 being corroborated to some extent. There are plenty of other rumors floating around the manufacturing side of things, from the logical to the farfetched, but Wu's estimates seem a lot more believable to me.

If accurate, could the amount of time before the presumed iPhone 5 launch suggest bigger hardware changes be coming? We've heard Apple hasn't settled on a design for the next generation iPhone yet, but that doesn't mean the design they ultimately settle on won't have significant differences.

It's doubtful iOS 6 at WWDC 2012 will give us any real clues. As always, we'll have to wait and see, and enjoy (or avoid) the rest of the pre-release crazy that'll no doubt keep coming up along the way.

Fall really can't get here fast enough, can it?

Source: CNET