Apple will ship the iPhone 5 in September, according to anonymous sources speaking to Reuters April 20.
That means production on the next-generation smartphone will ramp up sometime in either July or August, the sources apparently added, with components supplied by Foxconn (casing), Wintek Corp (touch-screen), and Largan Precision Co Ltd (camera module).
If that information about the camera module proves correct, it would refute earlier rumors that Sony is providing an 8-megapixel camera for inclusion in the next iPhone, which started after Sony CEO Howard Stringer made a leading comment during an April 1 talk with the Wall Street Journal's Walt Mossberg at New York City's Carnegie Hall.
"Why should I make Apple the best camera?" Stringer asked, after apparently suggesting that one of Sony's factories built sensors for Apple's iPhone and iPad. Online sources immediately picked up on the quote and ran with it, in a burst of scuttlebutt that dovetailed neatly with TheStreet's April 2010 report that Apple had traded OmniVision as its camera vendor for Sony.
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 could allow the smartphone to act as an electronic wallet. Those boosted features would put Apple in a better competitive position against the increasingly high-powered Google Android smartphones flooding the market.
While Apple traditionally launches each new iPhone in the summer, speculation abounds that the company intends to push the iPhone 5's release date into later 2011. Sources have also suggested to the blog TechCrunch that the release of iOS 5, the next iteration of Apple's mobile software, could also be delayed until fall.
"The new iOS will be heavily built around the cloud, and we could see several new services launch from Apple that take advantage of this," read TechCrunch's March 26 report. "But much of the cloud stuff will be talked about first at WWDC, Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference, which will take place in June."
Reuters' report hints that the iPhone 5 will hit the streets much earlier than some other reports, including one from Avian Securities, which suggested production on the iPhone wouldn't even begin until September.
Apple is also prepping the white iPhone 4 for release within the next couple weeks, with Apple marketing executive Philip Schiller tweeting in March that the device will be available "this spring." Unnamed sources have told Reuters and Bloomberg that the white iPhone 4 will be sold through AT&T and Verizon, both of which sell the "original" black iPhone 4.
Although Apple has never officially announced a reason for the white iPhone 4's delay, there have been rumors of persistent manufacturing issues. In October 2010, a "source with connections at Apple" told the blog Cult of Mac that ambient light leaked into the white iPhone 4's case, affecting its ability to take "accurate pictures." More recently, an April 14 Bloomberg report suggested that the iPhone's white paint "peeled under heat."