Apple's carrier partners are busy testing the iPhone 5, according to a new report.
"My carrier sources tell me that the boxes in which the new iPhone hardware is encased have been transported to carrier for testing," Charles Arthur wrote in an Aug. 2 article in The Guardian. "The next iPhones go for their testing inside locked and sealed boxes so that the carriers can carry out checks on their network compatibility in their labs."
Whether or not that report proves accurate, Apple certainly has a habit of cloaking its next-generation iPhones in the bodies of older models. In 2010, an Apple engineer testing an iPhone 4 inside an iPhone 3GS case accidentally left the device at a northern California bar, a well-publicized snafu that climaxed with Gizmodo very publicly dissecting it online.
Speaking of Gizmodo, the tech blog posted some images Aug. 1 of "an iPhone 5 clone made by a factory in Shenzhen, China." That device featured rounded edges-in contrast to the iPhone 4's emphasis on squared-off corners-and an exterior antenna rim. How closely that design resembles Apple's next iPhone, though, remains to be seen.
It also remains to be seen whether Apple's next-generation device includes the company's proprietary A5 processor, 8-megapixel camera and other (long rumored) hardware. The only certainty is that it'll run iOS 5, a major update to the company's mobile operating system.
Various tech publications have focused on September or October as a possible launch date for the device. AllThingsD, speaking to unnamed sources "with knowledge of the situation," is claiming the latter as the unveiling month. That conflicts with a recent post by tech blog Gizmodo, whose own source-someone supposedly within AT&T-claims employee vacation requests for late September have been denied.
"Historically the only time they've done this was for an iPhone release," read that email. "So we're looking at the last two weeks of September."
If that wasn't enough to set the rumor mill buzzing, the International Business Times 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." Pundits and analysts have speculated for months over whether Apple plans on introducing a line of low-cost iPhones to combat the rising number of Google Android smartphones on the market.
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 alternates such as Google Android or BlackBerry.