Although Apple’s latest version of the iPad is continuing to sell like hotcakes and draw headlines, attention has now shifted, in part, to the probable release date of the iPhone 5. Apple has historically released an updated version of the handset in Junethat is, until the release of the iPhone 4S in October 2011. If the comments from a recruiter with electronics manufacturing company Foxconn are any indication, Apple may be moving the release of the iPhone 5 back to a summer schedule. According to the Japanese technology blog Macotakara, which picked up on the comments when the recruiter was speaking to reporters on TV Tokyo’s “World Business Satellite” program, Foxcomm is planning to hire 18,000 people to make the iPhone 5. “It will come out in June,” the recruiter is reported to have said.
While the iPhone 5 would actually be the sixth-generation version of the handset, a blog post on AppleInsider claimed the Chinese workers who build the phones refer to the upcoming handset as the iPhone 5. According to Apple-centric blog 9to5Mac’s Jan. 25 report, the iPhone 5 will feature a bigger screen and a different casing from the iPhone 4. According to a “reliable source at Foxconn in China,” the various prototypes circulating around that production facility share some common features, including a 4-plus-inch display and a casing that no longer follows the design aesthetics of the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S.
A March report from Reuters claimed the next iPhone will feature a 4.6-inch Retina display and will launch in the second quarter of 2012. The news service drew that information from South Korean media, specifically the Maeil Business Newspaper, itself quoting an unnamed “industry source.” Other rumors have suggested the next iPhone will support 4G Long-Term Evolution (LTE) connectivity, something that seems more likely now that Apple’s released an iPad with 4G support.
Over the summer of 2011, analysts and pundits appeared certain that the company would release an iPhone 5 with a radically altered design and powerful new hardware. In October, however, Apple executives unveiled the iPhone 4S, whose exterior seemed virtually identical to the iPhone 4. However, a collection of new featuresincluding Siri, a voice-activated “digital personal assistant”quickly helped the new smartphone become a bestseller.
Sales of some 27.04 million iPhones contributed to Apple’s record-breaking fiscal 2012 first quarter, which ended Dec. 31. During the Jan. 24 earnings call, Apple CEO Tim Cook attributed the iPhone’s robust sales numbers to a combination of what he called “breathtaking customer reception” as well as pent-up demand from a particularly long gap between new iPhone releases. Overall, quarterly revenue totaled $46.33 billion, with a net profit of $13.06 billion.