Apple is set for a possible mid-year launch of the next iPhone, unlike the late-year launch of the last two models, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal.
Apple is also working on a cheaper iPhone model that could win it some market share in developing countries, the paper said. It cited unnamed people "familiar with the device's production."
The report is in line with the expectations of company watchers and Wall Street analysts.
The iPhone 5 costs around US$600 (NZ$1049), and while Apple maintains older iPhones in production, even those aren't cheap enough to compete effectively against low-end smartphones running Google's Android software.
Apple doesn't comment on future products before its launch events.
Its executives usually emphasise that the company's goal is to make the best products, not the cheapest ones.
The Journal said Apple is set to start production of the new iPhone within the next three months. It's apparently relying on sources among the Asian companies that supply components for the phone and assemble it.