You'd better start putting the cash aside now, iFans, as it looks like Apple [AAPL] iPhone 5 (or 4S) may not make it to us until November, according to UK gadget magazine, T3. That's the latest in a string of claims on the iPhone ship date, which I let you know would ship later than anticipated. So when will it ship?
[ABOVE: From St. Albans, with love?]
Apple's secrets slip -- in St. Albans?
The bad news is that according to T3, the device won't hit UK retailer, Phones 4U, until November 21. The good news there is that you'll be able to ask for one for Christmas/Thanksgiving. The bad news is that it seems a very long way out.
T3 claims to have been told this news by "a representative" of Phones4U, though the report doesn't make it clear if that rep was just some guy in a shop (who wouldn't know) or someone higher up within the organization (who might).
"The idea that the iPhone 5 will not be available in stores until November 21st suggests a late September unveiling with staff at Phones4U in St Albans adding to T3 that Apples latest edition would be available on similar tariffs to those offered to early iPhone 4 adopters."
I'm not going to pay too much credence to these claims -- I can't see any firm and fast reason Apple would inform a high street retailer of the actual date months ahead of time, even if that retailer is one of the biggest mobile retailers in the UK. And I certainly can't imagine shop floor staff in St. Albans would be the people who knew Apple's secrets.
Will they, won't they?
However, we are expecting the next iteration of the device will be introduced in September, along with an upgrade to the whole iPod product range. Claims to this effect began in February when FBR Capital Markets analyst Craig Berger wrote "For the iPhone 5, we continue to hear that a July launch is unlikely."
Apple is doing a good job of storing up demand with these moves. When the device does ship, many existing users will be in position to renew their existing contracts with a new handset. AT&T customers will be in position to acquire the Verizon iPhone 5 equivalent if they choose to abandon Apple's former exclusive carrier.
These months also give Apple a good chance for testing (antenna-gate, anyone) while allowing it to repair problems in its supply chains and to take advantage of any new components which may hit market about then (4G/LTE, for example...)
One more thing
What else do we know about iPhone 5?
It seems likely it will be a world phone, capable of use on both AT&T and Verizon networks. It will carry an A5 processor and the new souped-up graphics of the iPad 2. It is possible (though conflicting reports exist) it might offer NFC support (update, now seems unlikely), perhaps with help from Visa. It seems that the camera may be redesigned. And it will run iOS 5, which should appear after Apple ships a final version of Mac OS X 'Lion'. The new device will also offer support for cloud-based services.
And, if T3 is correct, Apple is plotting a course to make its iPhone(s) the biggest-selling electronics items of Christmas 2011....