Hold your breath, Apple Inc.'s iPhone 5 is expected to debut in October.
Although the Cupertino, California-based company did not confirm the date, all signs indicate that Apple will be releasing the highly anticipated fifth generation iPhone in a few weeks.
Although "reports" (more appropriate term is "rumors") have been contradicting as to the release date, the design, between an iPhone 4S and iPhone 5 (or both), consensus is that the next iPhone will debut together with the iOS5, the latest upgrade to the operating system for Apple's mobile devices. Apple already announced that the iOS5 will debut this fall.
The next iPhone will likely sport a dual core A5 processor (the processor for the iPad2) and an eight megapixel camera. Other exciting new features for the iPhone 5 are the voice based navigation system and panorama photography capabilities. The next iPhone will also be a "world phone" capable of connecting to both GSM networks and CDMA.
Some pre-release news indicate that the iPhone 5 is nearing its launch:
* iPhone 5 prototype lost in a bar. CNET reported that an Apple engineer lost an early prototype model iPhone 5 in a tequila bar in San Francisco, California. Last year, Gizmodo broke the news about the iPhone 4 -- at the dismay of Apple -- after the site paid $5,000 for the iPhone prototype misplaced by an Apple engineer. This time Apple used the Find My iPhone feature to locate the iPhone before it goes into wrong hands but the device hasn't been found. It doesn't matter if CNET or Gizmodo or some blogger again gets hold of the iPhone 5. What's more important is that this indicates that the iPhone 5 is nearing its launch.Sending test units to carriers and engineers to check for technical problems and glitches is one of the final steps before a new device is sold to consumers.
* Final verdict: same design or overhaul? Despite a repeat of the "prototype lost in a bar" story, Apple must be good at concealing information on its upcoming devices as reports still at odds as to whether the iPhone 5 will have the same design as the predecessor or will have a radical new design. The Wall Street Journal, citing component suppliers it did not identify, said last month the next iPhone is thinner and lighter and more challenging to mass-produce because of its size. Chinese blogsite M.I.C. Gadget's Chris Chang, has reported that Chinese case makers are starting to mass-produce iPhone 5 cases, the size of which indicate that the iPhone 5 is wider and longer, has a mute switch being moved to the opposite side, has a handset as thin as the iPod touch, and an aluminum back like the iPad 2.
* Same screen-size or larger screen? If the iPhone 5 sports a 3.5-inch screen like the iPhone 4, Android rivals could have one clear advantage over Apple. Rumors have it that HTC is releasing a new Android smartphone with a 4.5-inch and the Samsung Galaxy S 2 and the Nexus Prime each getting a 4.3-inch screen.
* Commercials by October. AppleInsider reported last week the TBWAChiatDay advertising agency, which has been working with Apple, has started production of ad spots for the fifth-generation iPhone and will finish commercials early October.
* Samsung and Droid Seek Breathing Space. Samsung will release the Galaxy S2 in the U.S. and Motorola will finally start selling Droid Bionic starting September in order to record solid sales of their devices before the iPhone 5 is released. The Samsung smartphone has a 1.2 GHz dual-core Exynos processor, 1 GB of RAM and 16 or 32 GB of storage. The Samsung device, which was released in other territories early this year, has quickly become Samsung's fastest selling smartphone. The Motorola Droid Bionic comes with a 1 GHz dual-core processor, a 4.3-inch qHD screen, and an 8-megapixel camera.
* Black/White iPhone. Samsung has already been accused by Apple of "slavishly" imitating the iPhone and the iPad. Apple released black and white version of the iPhone 4 this year. Samsung is reportedly selling black and white versions of the S2 also.
* Carriers Preparing for Release. According to Apple Insider, U.S. carrier Sprint has scheduled a "Strategy Update" presentation for Friday, Oct. 7. The iPhone 4 is currently available to Verizon and AT&T customers. The Wall Street Journal said early this month that Sprint will join AT&T and Verizon in introducing the iPhone 5. A report last month from 9to5mac.com, citing sources inside Apple, says that the Cupertino, Calif.-based company has been deciding between an Oct. 7 or Oct. 14 launch date but since pre-mass-production line is moving along nicely, Apple is leaning towards the earlier launch date of Oct. 7.
To contact the editor, e-mail: