Apple is believed to be readying production of its next-generation iPhone during the second quarter in preparation for release as early as this summer, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The company is also reportedly continuing work on a cheaper 4-inch iPhone that could arrive as soon as the second half of this year. The Journal had previously reported that a less expensive iPhone model would arrive sometime this year.

Apple Senior Vice President Phil Schiller has indicated that the company isn’t willing to “blindly” chase market share. While that hasn’t ruled out the possibility that a more affordable iPhone will arrive, it does suggest that Apple is looking to find a way to reach more customers without producing a smartphone that feels cheap.

The Journal’s expectation of a summer release of Apple’s next handset falls in line with a recent report from iMore that the company is planning to launch an iPhone 5S launch in August.

Apple officials have reportedly hinted that the late Steve Jobs worked on the next two generations of the iPhone. San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón has claimed that the company’s head of government liaison told him that upcoming models had “preceded” Apple CEO Tim Cook. Jobs named Cook as his successor when he resigned from the position in 2011, just months before his death.

Given that the iPhone 5 went on sale last September, a summer launch of this year’s iPhone would come less than a year after its predecessor. While Apple isn’t in any way bound to follow a year-long release schedule, it would have some upset customers on its hands if it released a new model too soon after its previous generation. The iPhone 5 arrived less than a year after the iPhone 4S, but there was a 15-month wait between the iPhone 4 and the iPhone 4S.

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