Newsis, a South Korean news publication quotes insider sources according to which Samsung has started work on the Galaxy S7 about 2-3 months ahead of schedule. Historically, Samsung has launched new Galaxy S flagships in the first quarter of the year, and an early development would allow the manufacturer to launch the Galaxy S7 by the end of 2015. If this rumor turns out to be accurate, this will be the first time that Samsung launches two Galaxy S iterations in the same year.
Update: A new report, quoting an anonymous insider source from within Samsung's marketing department, claims that the Galaxy S7 will not launch this year.
Given that Samsung usually works on a 12-month production cycle, this definitely seems to be one of the wilder rumors, but the reasoning might actually make sense. The manufacturer is said to shift development in order to better respond to the Apple iPhone 6S series by strengthening its high-end line-up in the second half of the year. Aside from an early Galaxy S7 and an early Galaxy Note 5, Samsung is also rumored to be gearing up to launch a larger version of the S6, called the Galaxy S6 edge Plus.
Even if this rumor turns out to be accurate, it remains to be seen what this head-on battle between Samsung and Apple will entail. Rumors claim that Samsung plans to leave Apple with less breathing room in the high-end segment of the smartphone market in the second half of the year, but it wouldn't be entirely impossible for such a tactic to hurt Samsung sales as well. Yesterday, a report came out according to which Samsung is now expected to sell 45 million Galaxy S6 and S6 edge units by the end of the year.