According to a new rumor from a Japanese website, Foxconn, Apple's iPhone manufacturer in China, has begun production of the so-called iPhone 5S. Earlier rumors suggested the next iPhone will launch this summer, either in June or in August. The new rumor confirms this time frame.
As before, the phone is said to have the same form factor, but with internal enhancements. Apparently because the phone is so similar, Apple has done little retooling of the production lines in order to begin manufacturing the new model.
Also, Apple is rumored to be on the market for a streaming subscription service to compete with services such as Spotify and Rdio. According to a report yesterday from Reuters, Apple CEO Tim Cook and Internet products chief Eddy Cue met with co-founders Beats Electronics, music mogul Jimmy Iovine and Dr Dre. Apparently Cook and Cue were exploring a partnership agreement for Beats Electronics planned music-streaming service.
According to Reuters, no deal was struck. The planned service is a subscription model, in which you pay a monthly fee for access to a large music library rather than purchasing individual songs.
I'm guessing it was a very preliminary and informal meeting, but the takeaway is that it's yet one more indication that Apple is exploring a subscription music service.
Apple's online services have been extremely successful with the iTunes Store and app sales. Just that component of the company, while dwarfed by its hardware offerings, is still very profitable and a steady stream of income. Plus, it just keeps growing. I think it's likely we're going to see more online services from Apple, and I wouldn't be surprised if it will announce something new this year.