iPhone 5 not getting a redesign, going to assemblers in September

iPhone 5 not getting a redesign, going to assemblers in September

MacRumors got wind of research note from -- wait for it -- an analyst named Ming-Chi Kuo who claims Apple is sending the gold master (GM) build of iOS 5 to manufacturers for assembly of iPhone 5 sometime between September 23 to 30.

However, Kuo actually seems to be referring to the rumored N94 update of iPhone 4 (sometimes referred to as iPhone 4S. He provides the following details:

  • 512 MB of RAM: This is to be expected, as the next iPhone should be using the same A5 chip found in the iPad 2, which does in fact offer 512 MB of RAM.
  • Camera module height "almost same" as in iPhone 4: Camera thickness is the major limiting factor for overall device thickness, meaning that the next iPhone is not likely to be significantly thinner than the iPhone 4. Sony is said to have started shipping camera sensors to Apple's manufacturers back in July, with OmniVision coming online to assist in September or October.
  • 3.5-inch display: A number of rumors have claimed that Apple will be using a larger display for the new iPhone, but Kuo's sources indicate the screen will be the same size as that found in the iPhone 4.
  • Glass front and back: Although not 100% confident on this item, Kuo's sources suggest that Apple will continue to utilize the same basic design of the iPhone 4, with glass on both the front and back of the device.
  • Manufacturing shares: Foxconn is scheduled to handle 85% of the production load for the new iPhone, with Pegatron taking the remaining 15%. As previously noted, Pegatron will be a bit slower to ramp up production, and will primarily be supplying Apple's Asia-Pacific markets.

So either Apple is doing an amazing job keeping a redesigned iPhone 5 under wraps, or iPhone 5 (iPhone 4S) won't be a major redesign (which is what TiPb heard a long time ago.)

If the next iPhone isn't a radical redesign, will you be any less likely to get it?


Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!

Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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iPhone 5 not getting a redesign, going to assemblers in September


I sure hope this isn't true. If so, I will definitely be disappointed, and will probably hang onto my 4 until the true 5 comes out.
Apple has a track record of making increasing marginal improvements to their iPhone, so I'd expect the next iPhone to be more of a marginal improvement than the 3GS -> 4, which would definitely necessitate a redesign.

With the iPhone 3G, Apple may have started a 2 year cycle. All-new design one year, followed by an upgraded version of that design the next year. All-new design the year after that etc.
Tick-tock, with "tick" being a new design and "tock" being an incremental improvement of that design. Apple can amortize their development expenses over 2 years instead of 1. Nobody else can do that. They're all going full-speed to catch up.

that would make sense if the time frame was the same, i.e june 2008 3G, June 2009 3GS. June 2010 i4, June 2011 i4S. But we've been waiting now 15 months. And 15 months for a bumped up internals is kinda crap.

iPhone 4 is the least comfortable iPhone so far. Add the whole death grip nonsense and I would've thought a redesign would be happening.

I don't understand how they can have a device that has been on the market for 15-16 months, and release a "new" device with the same design and expect a mad rush on it. It's not fair to consumers. I know Apple really hasn't cared too much about the consumer thought, but with new android devices coming out every time someone sneezes, they really need to try and keep up with the competition. I'm really hoping for a new design, it would make this whole waiting thing worth it.

I'm on T-Mobile and feel the same way. They could release the same damn iPhone 4 for all I care, just make it for my network!!!

hey plazmic.. i know you've seen the rumors of a iphone on tmobile right? well i was visiting family this past weekend and i see my niece has an iphone so i assumed she was either with verizon or at&t but when looking at her iphone the carrier says tmobile. i asked her if she got it on ebay or something she said no.. she was in the apple store looking at stuff and the sales rep in the apple store told her apple now offers iphone 4 on tmobile.. its an unlocked version that is usable on tmobile..and it works great.. no restrictions.. and it was through the apple store so it is legit.. i would go to one of the apple stores and inquire if i were you.

The problem with releasing a totally new design every year is that Apple loses sales. They need to slow down or stop production of the old model, then wait for the remaining stock to sell through. Lost sales result.
Then, Apple needs to ramp up production of the new model. The initial batch sells out, people can't buy them, and again Apple loses sales. Yes, there's huge demand for new iPhones, especially if they have a brand new design and new features. But not being able to meet that demand is an "opportunity cost."

so its safe to assume since your giving the steve jobs and his empire sales advise that you have either worked as head of his marketing and sales division or you have built an empire bigger than his and are now on top of the world and just offering up some free advise to help him out right?..lol.. im just saying.

if true, this would be the BIGGEST disappointed from apple EVER (since the BIG beatles announcement). after extra MONTHS of waiting, and we get iP4-S, there'll be hordes of angry tech nerds! We shall strike blood!

If no 'better' specs than what Tipb or the self- proclaimed pundits proclaim....I'll pass. Off to the pay-as-you-go guys and never looking back....

SO F-ING SICK OF these rumors. I've been waiting more then a year to switch to an iphone. And they can't get there shit together yet? Seriously just release the stupid phone.

Hell no. One. I'm on sprint. It's not available. 2 i've waited more then 1 and a half years now. I'm not gonna buy an old version even if it was available. And hell if if it was i'd have had it last year. But i'd hoped a cdma iphone would come when there were rumors of it for jan. That was in 2010. So i waited. Nope. only Verizon. Then i'd wait till July. Nope nothing. Then they said Sprint in September so i waited. It's gotten just stupid now.

If you rely on rumours to decide when and what phone you're going to get, you kind of deserve to be angry. Lol.
Do you know how many times it was rumored the Verizon would be getting the iPhone before they actually did? Several.
This is no different.

I had a contract with sprint that didnt' end until August of 2011. it had a $150 termination fee, when the iphone 4 was launched plus they are on ubsurdly expensive networks one of which, at&t has crappy service in my area. But i decided i'd wait till Jan for a rumored cdma sprint iphone that never came. Then i figured i'd wait till July because my contract would be close to up and i could switch with less fees Then maybe switch to verizon when the new phone was launched. But it never came. But they said oh only two months later most likely and on sprint. And buy that time it's been about a year, since i'd been waiting since 2010 july. And i figure, hell i've waited all this time, i'm not locking myself into a two year contract on an old version phone so better to just wait two months for a newer version i can be happy with. not to mention, i use my ipod for music and i have an 80gb so deep down i'm hoping for at least a 64 gb iphone. So after all this time. waiting since july of last year, having it put off so long. I'd just tired of it and i'm tired of this absolute crap palm pre phone.
see i had some other phone and was stuck on the contract so more then a year ago i just said, i won't make the same mistake. i'll wait out my contract and switch. I'm just so tired of waiting.

i, too, am a pre holder on sprint. i thought i was gonna go with the evo but i'm giving it a 'test drive' now and i'm over it. i need this iphone on sprint soon so i can stop eating the rumor soup.

I have had a Sprint Palm Pre since about 2 weeks after launch. Waiting, waiting, waiting, for Sprint iPhone. Was about this close (fingers almost touching) to switching to Verizon, but am now in holding pattern. I don't know if I was blind to it when I first got the Pre, but this thing has become amazingly slow and buggy, really need something new, and soon.

Making your buying decisions based on rumors of future products that may or may never ship is really not smart...
Buy it. Enjoy it. Replace it when you feel a need.
Trying to be "the latest" all the time, or on the leading edge of the next rumor will lead to nothing but disappointment.

Maybe you should check your grammar before you start cussing...
Not everyone in here is happy to read your curses...

I'm slightly biased, I have an iPhone 4, and bought my second in August. I think a 3G(S) like update makes sense. Add the A5, and more RAM, and keep the external design the same. It would make sense, as imagine the nightmare of getting updated accessories drafted up, put into production and distributed in time for the holiday season, and then imagine having to deal with that demand too.
While I do agree that the iPhone 4 is slightly less comfortable to hold versus the 3G/3GS, I think the design is notable, I've never experienced antennagate, and think personally that if the issue did exist beyond software, Apple have fixed it.

If it's not a major redesign then there's no reason to get it. I have absolutely no performance issues with my iPhone4 and I don't take a lot of pictures, for the pictures I do take the iPhone4 is just fine, so what good is a faster processor and upgraded camera in essentially the same body? It's no good at all and a major let down considering the extremely long wait and delays.

I really hope that they do release something that is a little different than the current iPhone 4 design. But, if it isn't, I can possibly see this model targeted towards people that are still on the 3GS (like me) or older models. Either way, I will be upgrading and retiring my 3GS.

Since I have a 3GS I'll likely buy the new version regardless, but I'll certainly be disapointed. Also, I really hope the form factor isn't any larger. However, I'd love to have the screen stretched closer to the margins.

Its been such a toss up whether I want it or not. I will most likely TRY to hold out for an iPhone 6 with 4G (fingers crossed) I told myself that its pointless to get another 3G enabled phone. I personally love the form factor of the 4. The only changes I need honestly is 64gb, a faster processor and 4G. I love the iP4 and iOS5 is gonna be sweet. We'll see what the announcment bring. Hell id love to hear Steve say "Oh and one more thing...its got 4g" .....SOLD

I don't care either. I have a 3GS currently and will buy the 5/4GS just as soon as it's released. As long as it has the A5, a better camera, and an improved antenna design, that will be good enough for me. I'd be particularly happy if they also added a 64GB version this time around as my 32GB 3GS only has about 1.3GB free.

Sounds like dude man has his phones mixed up. There will be two new phones, a lower priced iPhone 4 and the iPhone 5. The leaked cases prove there is a redesign.

And maybe also an iPod touch 3G. Wireless data built-in, with an option to add a SIM card or activate CDMA voice connections. But who knows?

im selling my iphone 4 anyways because im moving to another country (canada) in a couple of months and my iphone 4 is locked to the local network so whatever is available for sale when i head on over there i'll get. i was completely fine with iphone 4 and had i not been moving i wouldnt have sold it...

If it isn't a major redesign, I won't be buying it, and it seems most people agree with me. Why would I want a second iPhone 4?

If its the same design but has world capabilities (Verizon user here), it might be worth the upgrade as I travel abroad quite a bit.

Im the type to always NEED the new and best thing, so I will get it, but coming from a competition standpoint they need to have a bigger screen with the upgraded internals to compete with other devices. If not I think many iphone lovers will jump ship

You NEED air, food, water, shelter and clothing. You WANT an iPhone5. Big difference!

LOSER! U r the type of person Apple prey's upon the kind that is under their spell. Shiny new logo ohhh gotta have it. Y do you need a new phone every year so that u can post ur sad life on Facebook. That way people can see u with the neeeewesst phone. So lame.

To be honest, I don't think the phone needs a redesign. I love the look of my iPhone 4. I won't be getting this new model, but if I had the 3GS, I would definitely get it. I don't believe that we should upgrade every year.

This is outrageous if true. I have a 4, which now has an expired warranty. I want a new phone to essentially get a new warranty (I'm not going to buy AppleCare). However, now that Apple has lost all rhyme and reason to their product releases, I'm hesitant to buy a new phone for fear they'll release another model 6 months later.
I really want a newly designed phone, as does everyone else it would seem. However, if one isn't released, that unspoken trust will be broken with Apple, and I will likely just wait for the next generation. That would be a first for me.

no bigger screen no upgrade for me... i could care less about an 8mp camera, or A5 chip (omg, open angry birds faster!). They need to have a bigger screen, imo.

I have a thought. Maybe this IPhone 4S with small improvements will be a Sprint model and Verizon and AT&T will get an iPhone 5 In April. I heard alot of rumors pointing to the iPhone 5 not coming out until April 2012. This would also explain the two model numbers embedded in the IOS5 betas. I think it would be a bad idea but I think it is possible.

If it's not a redesign, I'll pass. I've been holding on to my second line upgrade for a while. It'll keep if it's not redesign.

I guess I will sit out this round and not upgrade my 3G unless a totally redsigned iPhone is unveiled.

PLEASE do not turn out to be true. I've been hanging on to my 3GS waiting for a sweet iPhone 5...I really don't want to get the iPhone 4S, and then be blown away when the "real" upgrade comes in 2012.
Also, it makes me feel like Apple is slipping a bit. 18 months will have passed, and Android has grown with leaps and bounds. Android is no longer reserved for geeks, average non-tech people are seeking out android phones.
Releasing a half-assed upgrade is like handing google victory on a silver platter. If there WAS EVER a time for apple to bring out the big guns, it's now...but all of these rumors are starting to make me nervous. My gut is saying, NO WAY apple will release a lame update in such a heated market.

Also, what about all the iPhone 5 cases? They have to be floating around for a reason. I DONT BUY THIS! I think this idiot analyst Ming-Chi Kuo felt the ass of the elephant, and said "hey, I only feel the ass...so all elephants are a giant ass." I guarentee if Ming decided to go lower and give the elephant a reach around, the big picture would have revealed that the iPhone 5 is coming as well.
What's my point? Clearly that Ming-Chi should masturbate an elephant.

I've seen at least a couple of articles with information suggesting that the so-called "iPhone 5" cases are actually for the new iPod Touch.

If the iPhone doesn't get announced soon, I think my head is going to explode... but I really hope it is a redesign because there would be no need for them to delay so long, unless they blame it on the alcohol, I mean earthquakes!

I currently have the 3GS. Love it to death. I passed on the 4 and have been waiting patiently for the 5. Whatever the design I will be getting the 5 and an IPad 3 when it's released. If the design is similar to the 4 so be it. I really like the 3GS design however. I use the Otterbox case and the otterbox for the 4 is garbage compared to the design of the 3G and 3GS cases.

If this is true, Apple will get a big middle finger as i move on to the next better phone out on the market in October. They can put there iPhone 4s / fake iPhone 5 up there ass with those mediocre upgrades!

Ok Ming-Chi Kuo answer this, if it IS just a iPhone 4S...
WHY are they 3 months late?
I have been having wet dreams of this thing since WWDC

if no redesign i will have to get the blackberry bold 9900 touch . the phone is amazing. i have the 3gs now hate the 4 dont need any of the upgrades had them through cidia and dont care about i cloud one bit.

I love my iPhone 4, however I don't need another one, waiting 16 months to come out with a new phone with today's competition that is just an iPhone 4 with a faster chip would be foolish. More and more of my friends and family have been ditching their iPhones for Android's because of the screen size.
It wasn't long ago that RIM was #1, I hope Apple doesn't go the same way, RIM thought nobody would want a phone with a big touchscreen, now we have Apple believing nobody wants anything bigger than 3.5 inches..

if they dont change the look or screen, what is the point of paying for this phone? I guess Apple will be happy just getting the 3Gs users to upgrade.
the gap between Apple and the comp has closed. If they dont introduce a new phone, they will lose many users to the comps larger screen. I am in sales. At my sales meeting in Feb 2010, most had blackberries, a few had iphones. In March 2011, about 1/2 had androids, 25% had blackberries and the balance had iphones or something else.

Somebody please answer this for me: If the 4S is coming out next month, why didn't they release it in June like their regular iphone schedule has been? Why wait 16 months for a warmed over iphone 4? Why?

yeah it's like that iJustine chick on YouTube who bought another iPhone 4 only because it was released in white!
I mean really? white....

I have the 3Gs and it does everything I need it to do so unless the iPhone 5 can fly I have no need to upgrade. Not to mention with att pushing out the 8th model 3GS developers and apple will have to continue to support until the iPhone 7 comes out.

In the long term they think they can have it all - that's the real reason they dont license it out.

I feel like TiPB keeps on pushing this idea of an iPhone 4S. WHY? If it's all rumors, just call it what every other blog calls it, an "IPhone 5" rumor, despite whatever specs the rumor has.
Anyway, it would definitely be a bad move for Apple (given that this is going to be the first Jobs-less announcement) to have more time to work on the next iPhone model and only have internal improvements. A complete, mind-blowing redesign, would be good to establish this new Apple regime as fit for the job.