While Apple has only just released the new iPad, iMore has already started to hear more about the next generation iPhone (iPhone 5,1). We previously reported that Apple was working to reduce the size of the traditional 30-pin dock connector to something closer akin to a micro-dock so there'd be more room inside for other components (similar to how they went from a mini-SIM to a micro-SIM in 2010). Yesterday we reported that, as of last month, Apple was planning to stick with the current 3.5-inch screen size for the new iPhone, but that it wasn't set in stone and it could get a little bigger (though nowhere near as big as current 4.5-inch-plus Android phones.)
Following that story we received some additional information.
First, the new iPhone will be 4G LTE compatible. That shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone, considering the new iPad supports LTE and it's hard to imagine Apple giving the iPad a feature like that and not passing it on to the iPhone. So look for that this fall.
Second is the timeframe. We've mentioned October 2012 as the current release schedule for iPhone 5,1 before and that's still the plan. The exact date won't be determined until closer to launch, but the iPhone is locked to a fall cycle for the immediate future.
That makes sense for a number of reasons. While going from the iPhone 4 in June 2010 to the iPhone 4S in October 2011 was a longer wait than previous generations, a new iPhone release in June of 2012 would create the opposite problem -- only 9 months between iPhones. That's not dissimilar to the period of time between the Verizon iPhone 4 launch in February of 2011 and the cross-carrier iPhone 4S launch in October of the same year, but that was a unique circumstance. Apple has shown they can earn significant revenue on their flagship devices even when they've been on the market for over a year. Why unnecessarily shorten that shelf life?
Also, to date, every new iPhone has been launched alongside a new version of iOS. The last version, iOS 5, was a major, ambitious update, including iCloud and Siri, and Apple may have needed those 16 months to bring it to market. We have no specific information on how large an update Apple is planning for iOS 6, but 9 months may not be enough time for even a modest release. If Apple announces an iOS 6 SDK event this spring, like they did from 2008 to 2010, then we may start getting an idea. If iOS 6 isn't introduced to developers until WWDC, presumably in the summer like 2011, then a fall release would seem a certainty.
So to sum up, iPhone 5,1 is on track for:
- Similar if not same sized screen (currently 3.5-inch but not set in stone)
- 4G LTE radio
- New "micro dock" connector
- Fall/October 2012 release
There's some other stuff we're still looking into and we'll update asap. In the meantime, if next generation iPhone rumors and discussion are your thing, jump on into our iPhone 5 forum and have at it.
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Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.