Apple's iPhone 5 could begin production as late as September, according to a new analyst report.
If proven accurate, that report would dovetail with earlier ones made by various blogs, which suggested that Apple could delay both the next iPhone and iOS until later in 2011. That would represent a break from Apple's usual pattern, which sees each year's successive iPhone release take place in the summer timeframe.
According to a March posting on Macotakra, a Japanese blog devoted to everything Mac, itself citing "sources in China," the iPhone 5 won't debut until the fourth quarter of 2011. Other Websites seemed in agreement at the time that Apple hadn't yet geared up the necessary parts-ordering to push out an iPhone within the usual timeframe.
It is widely expected that developers and media will have their first glimpse of the next iOS at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), set for June 6-10 in San Francisco.
"At this year's conference, we are going to unveil the future of iOS and Mac OS," Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide product marketing, wrote in a March 28 statement posted on Apple's corporate Website. "If you are an iOS or Mac OS X software developer, this is an event you do not want to miss."
Reading between the lines of Schiller's statement, purportedly supported by sources within Apple, some bloggers have come to the conclusion that Apple will hold back on announcing a new iPhone or any new hardware at the WWDC. The Loop's Jim Dalrymple wrote in a March 28 posting: "Apple's apparent focus on software in its WWDC announcement backs up what my own sources are saying about the annual conference... That is, expect a software show in 2011, not a hardware event."
Meanwhile, speculation runs rampant over possible features in the iPhone 5. While Sony has never been acknowledged as an Apple component maker, for example, April 1 comments by Sony CEO Howard Stringer have led some to believe the manufacturer will provide the 8-megapixel cameras for the next iPhone.
"Why should I make Apple the best camera?" Stringer asked the Wall Street Journal's Walt Mossberg during that talk at Carnegie Hall, after apparently suggesting that one of Sony's factories built sensors for Apple's iPhone and iPad.
In addition to higher-resolution cameras, current rumors suggest that the iPhone 5 could include Apple's A5 proprietary processor, hardware upgraded to enable 3G FaceTime video conferencing, and NFC (near-field communication) technology, which would enable the smartphone to act as an electronic wallet. Over the summer, Apple hired an NFC expert as the new product manager for mobile commerce, in addition to publishing a number of NFC-related patents.