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Apple has begun field tests of its next iPhone model according to reports.
Developers have begun spotting references to both a new iPhone and an iOS 7 build in their log files, according to a report from The Next Web. The report cites an "iPhone 6.1" entry in the logs, suggesting the new hardware is being tested in the field.
Such log activity has been noticed in the past in the moths prior to the unveiling of a new handset. Apple rarely gives advanced notification or details on a product before its official unveiling, making such log activity the first indication a new device is on the way.
The log activity also supports speculation from industry pundits that Apple is planning to move back to a release schedule which sees the iPhone hardware updated in the Spring rather than the late Summer.
Topeka Capital analyst Brian White was quoted by Apple Insider as predicting that the new iPhone would hit the market in May or June and would offer various form factors and screen sizes. White also suggested that the new handset would be available in a number of new colours. White said that the colour options would be identical to the iPad Nano colour palette.
Speculation on the next iPhone has become an annual rite in the industry. Last year, the turn of 2012 brought with it a flurry of reports on the iPhone 5. Speculation on the features of the new iPhone continued throughout the year up to Apple's September unveiling.
While some of the early reports on the device, such as a slimmer design, held up, others proved to be well off the mark.