Citing sources familiar with the matter, Taiwanese publication Focus Taiwan reports Hon Hai, better known as Foxconn, is starting a massive round of recruiting for its Shenzhen factory that will add as many as 90,000 people to the plant's workforce.
Foxconn instituted a hiring freeze earlier this year to adjust for an unexpectedly high number of returning workers after the Chinese New Year. The company resumed recruitment operations in April to manage Apple's yearly production ramp for its latest flagship iPhone.
While Foxconn is thought to be handling assembly of the so-called "iPhone 5S," Apple partner supplier Pegatron will supposedly be responsible for a low-cost handset made of polycarbonate or plastic. In May, Pegatron was also reported to have initiated a hiring drive for some 40,000 workers, a 40 percent boost to its workforce, to cope with added iPhone orders.
Apple is widely expected to debut a next-generation iPhone model alongside a cheaper handset this fall, though an exact launch timeframe is disputed. According to well-connected analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, the iPhone 5S has been a challenge to manufacture and may see limited availability following a release at the end of September. He noted that production of the low-cost version is on track and should be ready for an early-September unveiling if Apple chooses to separate the two device launches.
The iPhone 5S is thought to retain the design of Apple's current iPhone 5, but will likely have upgraded internals like a faster processor and camera enhancements. It is also speculated that the next iPhone could boast a biometric fingerprint reader built into its home button. That rumor was bolstered by some hard evidence on Monday, when references to a "Biometric Kit" were discovered in the latest iOS 7 beta code.