Apple is about to turn back-to-school season into new-iPhone-frenzy season. New reports indicate Apple will indeed roll out the latest version of its signature device in September, at an annual event usually focused on the iPod. In the past, Apple has usually unveiled the next-generation iPhone in June or July, but pushed back the schedule, likely to coincide with the release of iOS 5.
According to Bloomberg, the iPhone 5 will be faster than the current model, packing the A5 processor that powers the iPad 2. While closely resembling the iPhone, it will also feature an upgrade to an 8-megapixel camera. Citing a "reliable source," BGR goes further, saying the forthcoming model won' t merely be an upgraded iPhone 4, but feature "a radical new case design."
Does that mean goodbye to the notorious external antenna? (And the cottage industry in bumpers that sprang up around it?) How different could it be than the glass and metal rectangle we know to be the iPhone? Maybe something like this?
In any event, BGR also suggests Apple will hold an event in early or mid-August to announce the new iPhone, with the device going on sale the last week of August. Even in the dog days of summer, with temperatures regularly reaching 90 degrees, it's not hard to imagine long lines of iPhone fans sweating it out inside Apple Stores to be among the first to caress the latest version.
Once summer's over, the timing should also give Apple more momentum heading into the holiday season -- an unwelcome prospect for smartphone competitors not accustomed to having Apple intrude on their biggest sales quarter with a freshly updated iPhone.
What about the iPod? Will it get bumped from center stage in September for the new iPhone? Who knows? It's all speculation at this point. But if this happens, it would only reflect the fact that the iPod is far from the growth engine for the company it once was. In Apple's most recent quarter, iPod sales fell 17% to 9 million, while iPhone sales more than doubled to 18.7 million. If smaller and smaller iPods have anything to do with shrinking sales, Apple should avoid coming out with a tiny iPhone 5.