"Everyone's going to have their own theories about what answer I'm eventually to come up with, and who better to capitalize on that media market than you yourself? So long as you can keep disagreeing with each other violently enough and slagging each other off in the popular press, you can keep yourself on the gravy train for life. How does that sound?"
Deep Thought speaks, Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams
[ABOVE: I've used this image before, but this is what happened at O2 on Oxford Street when the first-ever iPhone went on sale in the UK. (O2 PR shot) Will history repeat itself?]
August launch, ships September
A report originating in smaller Italian iPhone website, iPhone Italia, cites an anonymous Swisscom source who claims the next model Apple smartphone will ship in the US on September 5, with a global launch set for the following month.
I'm told September 5 is a US public holiday, making that an unlikely date. The claim does suggest early September. (UPDATE: A later report now claims a later introduction, not much later though: the second week of September.)
This is in character with previous Apple launches, but given the anonymity of this source could turn out to be nothing more than an educated guess. But this isn't the first time a September release has been claimed.
Way back in January I warned that the iPhone 5 wouldn't ship until later in the year. This turned out true when Apple skipped its anticipated June/July launch window for the product.
Earlier this month we learned Pegatron has been recruited to manufacture 15 million iPhones for Apple, and that manufacturing has begun.
Yesterday we saw a BGR report claiming AT&T is setting things up for a mid-September launch of iPhone 5. An "influx of foot traffic" is expected in September, that report claims.
Apple has also been hiring new retail staff recently for the August-September period. The company has been recruiting iPhone sales specialists according to Cnet.
From the ad:
"Our client, Apple, one of the largest consumer electronic hardware and software companies in the world are seeking full-time iPhone Sales Staff for an exciting project to work 5 days a week (Tuesday-Saturday) for the period 16th August - 29th October within key retail store."
There was one recent claim the new iPhone may make an appearance in August, a claim which twinned with the anticipated music product refresh for August/September, Apple seems set to play its hand. Indeed, an earlier BGR report claimed an August special event.
[ABOVE: Apple's latest iPad ad, "We'll Always", offers hints of some of what to expect from iPhone 5, another peer player in Apple's platform plans.]
What to expect
The iPhone 5 is expected to run Apple's new A5 CPU, a multi-core processor that's much faster and more graphically intensive than previous models.
Equipped with an 8-megapixel camera the device could conceivably support 1,080p video recording and HDMI-quality output.
Think on the schedule
The iPhone will likely run iOS 5, which suggests a September introduction of the OS. In the event that iOS 5 is supported, it seems logical to expect iCloud services to also go live. That's in line with recent beta Lion OS releases, which initiate support for iCloud within Lion.
In other words I'm suggesting a mid-late August intro, September shipping in US, iOS 5 and iCloud launch (potentially with additional previously unknown iCloud features, perhaps even those movie and TV show streaming features we look forward to in a Hulu-enabled Apple TV) and October for international iPhone availability.
Naturally this will also see an extension of the connected iPod range in order to enable these devices to connect to the iCloud-supported media ecosystem, which could open other opportunities, -- telephony for the iPod nano, for example? Who knows...
Whatever Steve's people decide to do, introduction of the new iPhone(s?) is likely to inflate Apple's Q1 sales, driving what will probably become another record quarter for the company. 35 percent of UK consumers planning to purchase a smartphone intend buying an iPhone, a recent survey said.
And as for the expectation that Samsung might eclipse iPhone sales this quarter, it seems likely the introduction of iPhone 5 will show that stat for what it is -- a blip!
Does this roll-out schedule -- late August intro, September shipping in US, iOS 5 and iCloud launch (potentially with additional previously unknown iCloud features) and October for international iPhone availability make sense? Let us know in comments below. I'd also very much like to invite you to follow me on Twitter so I can let you know when I post new reports here first on Computerworld.