Apple's next iPhone could see its debut in September-or maybe October. It will likely come with Apple's proprietary A5 processor and an 8-megapixel camera, but it's more questionable whether the case will undergo a fundamental redesign. As for the device's official name, you could probably place money just as easily on "iPhone 4S" as "iPhone 5"-or both, if Apple chooses to launch a whole new line of cheaper iPhones to complement its annual high-end device.
The ramp-up to the launch of each new Apple product sometimes plays out like the tech-world version of Beckett's "Waiting for Godot," in which confusion reigns.
That being said, the newest rumors surrounding the next iPhone-dubbed "iPhone 5" by many in the media-indicate either a September or October launch. AllThingsD, speaking to unnamed sources "with knowledge of the situation," is claiming October as the unveiling month.
That conflicts with a report from tech blog Gizmodo, which has passed along a supposed email from an AT&T employee claiming that employee vacation requests for late September have been denied. "Historically the only time they've done this was for an iPhone release," reads that email. "So we're looking at the last two weeks of September."
Gizmodo, of course, advised that the information be taken with massive amounts of salt, something seconded by AllThingsD's source.
Meanwhile, International Business Times has posted screenshots of a purported "iPhone 4S prototype," which "could indicate a lower cost lineup of iPhones Apple will introduce alongside the iPhone 5 release." Whether Apple indeed plans a line of low-cost iPhones to combat the rising number of Google Android smartphones on the market, and whatever it chooses to finally name those devices, remains a mystery.
Nonetheless, whenever Apple actually chooses to release its next iPhone, anticipation for the device is apparently high. According to Experian's PriceGrabber shopping Website, some 35 percent of 3,000 U.S. consumers said they would buy the iPhone 5 upon its release. Around 48 percent of those polled said they preferred Apple's iOS platform to alternatives such as Google Android or BlackBerry.
The iPhone will run iOS 5, a major update to the company's mobile operating system. Over the past few months, a flurry of rumors has indicated the device will receive some high-end hardware, such as the aforementioned 8-megapixel camera and Apple's proprietary A5 processor.
Overall, the iPhone continues to drive Apple's fortunes in the mobile space. "The company easily posted the highest growth rate of the worldwide leaders despite the fact that its flagship iPhone 4 is now more than a year old," read one section of a July 28 report from research firm IDC. "Apple's ability to bring its smartphone momentum to developing economies, where it's less successful, will help dictate the company's smartphone fortunes in the future."
During Apple's July 19 earnings call, COO Tim Cook suggested that the iPhone's strong quarterly sales were due to expansion in regions such as China, Latin America and the Middle East, which he defined as "markets that Apple has not traditionally been as strong in." The company sold 20.34 million iPhones during the quarter, a year-over-year increase of 142 percent.
Whatever the case with the next iPhone, one thing is certain: unlike Godot, the device will eventually show up.