Life was simpler before 2011. Just as each day brings a new sunrise, each summer brought a new iPhone. That regular-as-clockwork routine stood for little, though, when Apple missed the handset’s traditional due date in June.
However, we’ve known a good while, even before the supposedly set-in-stone summer release cycle came and went, the iPhone 5 would be delayed this year until autumn. So far, this has been right on-the-money and now with the harvest season looming, rumblings that Apple is finally ready to reveal the fruits of its labour are growing louder.
Here, we round up the most substantial iPhone 5 release date rumours to-date to assess if that’s really going to be case.
We’ll update this timeline on a daily basis with the latest release gen available. So bookmark it and check back regularly. If you are interested in iPhone 5 deals you can also sign up for iPhone 5 deal alerts here.
14th September: iPhone 5 dropping October 15th, says network exec
Orange CEO Stéphane Richard revealed to broadcaster BFM TV that based on intel he's been given, the iPhone 5 is likely to launch on October 15th. Coming from a top mover and shaker rather an anonymous tipster certainly makes it more plausible. However, the date falls on a Saturday and every iPhone so far has been released on weekday. Then again, they also arrived in summer, not autumn.
13th September: iPhone 5 UK release date set as October 21st on O2?
An unnamed O2 employee has reportedly disclosed to an enquiring customer that the iPhone 5 will land on October 21st. This could very well be a repeat of the recent leak that retailer Best Buy had issued a memo to store managers regarding a mysterious ‘Apple Fixture’ on the same day. Either that, or this is really the date set by Cupertino for the hotly anticipated launch.
12th September: iPhone 5 to get iOS 5 GM starting Sept. 23rd, says analyst
Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of Concord Securities communicated to Apple Insider that a ‘golden master’ build of iOS 5 will be released to iPhone 5 assemblers between September 23rd and September 30th, allowing shipments of the handset to begin within weeks.
12th September: iPhone 5 arrival imminent, as Sprint cancels holiday
A leaked memo, supposedly originating from US carrier Sprint has blocked all staff from taking holidays between September 30th and October 15th based on “the possibility of a major phone launch”. On the basis of recent reports that production of iPhone 5 has finally begun, and claims that retail chains are also taking similar measures, this would suggest that the handset is likely to be released during this period.
**8th September: iPhone 5 ‘shipping this month’
DigiTimes reported that the iPhone 5 has begun shipping from factories in China. Up to 150,000 handsets are being produced each day, which, if the manufacturing efforts are sustained, will see 4.5m iPhone 5’s ready to ship by the end of the month. With the welter of release buzz lately, we’re inclined to think that an announcement is just around the corner.
6th September: iPhone 5 release date leaked on Amazon
A product listing on Amazon for an iPhone 5 case was sighted with a release date September 19th 2011, further fuelling rumours that the handset may be arrive sooner than the projected October launch. Although it’s possible the case maker is simply trying to offload as much stock as possible to avoid the chaos and intense competition that will follow once the handset is finally out.
5th September: iPhone 5 dropping October 21st, retailer’s plans suggest
5th September: iPhone 5 announcement incoming in ‘next week or two
Two separate rumours cropped up in close succession that electronics retail chain Best Buy and an unnamed ‘mobile phone store’ in the UK are preparing their stores and training staff for the imminent launch of the iPhone 5. The latter went as far as to claim that an announcement would be made in the ‘next week or two’, but added that the handset won’t be stocked until very late 2011 or early 2012.
17th August: iPhone 5 launching October 7th, pre-orders starting Sept
Anonymous tipsters informed 9 to 5 Mac that Apple is planning on releasing the iPhone on either October 7th or 14th before settling on the former as the more likely ETA, adding that latest pre-mass-production stages for the handset were ‘moving along nicely’. The sources also revealed that pre-orders would probably begin on September 30th.
12th August: iPhone 5 not due until March 2012, says sources
TechEye, citing unnamed channel partners, claimed that despite growing consensus in the tech world surrounding an October launch, the iPhone 5 would not be released until March 2012 due to “components downturn and other economic factors”. If true, this would be a massive setback for Cupertino and millions of eager-eyed fans.
10th August: iPhone 5 imminent as O2 clears iPhone 4 stocks
O2 begun offering affiliates a commission for the first time for iPhone 4 contracts in a bid to clear stock and free up shelf space for a successor. The network also revealed it would be introducing price cuts in the weeks to follow to further speed up sales of the current-gen model.
3rd August: iPhone 5 orders hit 10m for September launch
Supply chain sources abreast of developments told DigiTimes that Taiwanese manufacturer Pegatron has landed orders from Apple to produce 10 million iPhone 5 units with shipments to begin in September. Pegatron was also on iPhone 4 manufacturing detail. The sheer size of the order suggested that a launch in October is now almost certain.
1st August: iPhone 5 to launch in October
Whispers of the iPhone 5 supposedly landing in September were seemingly kyboshed as All Things Digital was reportedly informed by a source familiar with Apple’s plans that the device would not be arriving before October. However, the possibility remained that Apple could yet announce the handset in September and release it in October to give networks and retail partners time to prepare.
25th July: iPhone 5 landing September 5th, says network source
An unnamed Swisscom mover and shaker disclosed that Apple is planning to launch the iPhone 5 stateside on September 5th and a month later across The Pond. No reason was given as to why Cupertino would release the handset a month later in Europe. However, at this point it had become fairly obvious that a summer release would no longer be possible.
15th July: iPhone 5 rumour: now in beta testing
Tech bloggers at Chip Hazard claimed that several US networks had already begun putting the iPhone through rigorous tests, including but not limited to signal reception and connectivity. Taking into consideration the antennagate PRmeggadon in the aftermath of the iPhone 4 launch, this would not have been out of the realms of possibility.
18th May: iPhone 5 production starting Q3, packing 8MP snapper?
Analysts, this time at FBR Capital Markets, also predicted that the iPhone 5 would not go into production until September or November, massively damaging hopes of the tech world still awaiting any sign from Cupertino to believe otherwise. Blame for the delay was pinned on component and labour shortages, as well purported overheating issues with the processor.
On the bright side, rumours that the next-gen phone would pack an eight-megapixel camera also surfaced.
12th April: iPhone 5 manufacture delayed until September
Market analysts Avian Securities claimed, following conversations with a “key component supplier”, that production of the iPhone 5 will now begin in September, adding weight to reports the phone miss its traditional summer release date and launch in autumn instead.
29th March: iPhone 5 delayed until autumn
Japanese tech blog Macotakara, citing a source in China, claimed Apple was planning to push back the launch of the iPhone 5 until autumn, as parts manufacturing for the phone had not even started. With no orders placed by the Cupertino giant, the odds of the phone being anywhere near ready for a launch in the two months’ time were slim to none. Conversely, the likelihood of a new handset landing later than October looked a good bet.
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