T-Mobile parent company Deutsche Telekom AG is allowing customers to preorder the iPhone 5, according to Bloomberg. However, the preorder process lacks any mention of a release date or device specs.
Although Apple has remained customarily tight-lipped about its plans for the next-generation iPhones, rumors generally point to a September or October unveiling for the device. In the United States, the iPhone is not yet available on T-Mobile, which has been targeted for acquisition by AT&T.
Other rumors suggest the iPhone 5 will include a larger screen and faster processor, along with an 8-megapixel camera and possibly a redesigned body. There's also a widespread theory that Apple intends to release a line of low-cost iPhones to complement its next-generation device, which in turn would allow Cupertino to combat the rising number of cheap Google Android smartphones on the market.
In yet another sign that a new iPhone might well be upon us, an Apple employee reportedly lost a prototype device in a Northern California bar. This latest incident, which supposedly occurred at a San Francisco establishment known for its tequila, echoes a similar one in 2010, when an Apple engineer lost an iPhone 4 prototype at the Gourmet Haus Staudt beer garden in Redwood City, Calif. The newest (lost) prototype has reportedly not been recovered.
Beyond its product roadmap, Apple is undergoing some seismic shifts at the moment. In an August letter to Apple's board of directors and employees, CEO Steve Jobs suggested he could "no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple's CEO." He asked the board to activate a prearranged succession plan and name Tim Cook as CEO-a familiar role for the latter, considering he's stepped in as interim chief whenever Jobs' longstanding health issues drove him to take medical leave.
However, analysts don't seem to think Jobs' resignation will have a short-term impact on the company's pipeline of new smartphones and tablets.
"Apple's product development road map stretches into multiple years ahead and has been shaped both by Jobs and by the organization he built," Forrester analyst JP Gownder wrote in an Aug. 24 corporate blog posting. "Jobs' departure won't affect Apple's product portfolio, quality or competitiveness for a long time-if ever."
He also suggested that Apple's combined talent outweighs the possible impact of its leader's permanent departure: "While Steve Jobs will go down in eventual history as an outstanding innovator, leader, and world-changer, Apple is actually much more than its leader alone."
It also means that Tim Cook, as newly minted CEO, will almost certainly introduce the iPhone 5 when it rolls out either this month or next.