The New York Times ran a piece Thursday saying that the next iPhone is “just weeks away,” citing “an Apple employee who asked not to be named because he was not allowed to speak publicly for the company.” Meanwhile, according to TechCrunch, the CEO of France Telecom is saying the phone’s launch date is Oct. 15 — for France at least.
Seth Weintraub at 9to5Mac says that he’s heard there will be two phones, an iPhone 5 and an “aggressively priced” version of the iPhone 4, available by Oct. 7.
Our thinking has been that the unveiling event will probably happen on Oct. 3 or 4, and then the phone would be available within two weeks of that. These nuggets corroborate that assumption pretty nicely, especially since iPhone availability in France could easily be later than in the U.S.
The Times’ Nick Bilton goes on to say that “an engineer familiar with the new iPhone” told him it would be “fairly different” than the iPhone 4, with an 8-megapixel camera and an A5 dual-core processor, as we suspected. Furthermore, Bilton writes that sources told him that either this phone or the next one will contain a telecom chip made by Qualcomm which includes near-field communication (NFC). This turns the phone into a so-called “digital wallet,” that can be waved over a sensor to make a credit-card payment, for example. Google’s Nexus S phone already has NFC built in.
Weintraub says that the new iPhone should be quite attractive:
The iPhone 5 itself is a sight to behold, we’ve been told. It is impossibly light, yet much firmer than Samsung Galaxy phones which are backed in plastic. The camera rivals point and shoot cameras and will be a major marketing point for this device.
It’s worth noting that while nobody seems to confirm or deny it, the iPhone 5 name dominates the coverage, while the earlier rumored iPhone 4S name is nowhere to be found. Perhaps the lower end model will be renamed iPhone 4S, but that doesn’t quite make sense because it’s supposed to be cheaper than the current iPhone, so why would it be faster?
While all the latest millings seem to match previous iPhone 5 rumors, there is some alleged production trouble. According to Weintraub, at least on one assembly line is “seeing continued design and production delays,” which could cause delays or at least shortages “all the way into 2012.”
So if you really want an iPhone, you had better check your camping gear, because you might end up sleeping outside your local Apple Store in the coming weeks.