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Is the iPhone 5 Really Coming Out in October?


Yesterday morning, Foxconn dropped a bombshell on the tech world.

The manufacturing entity claimed that the iPhone 5 had been given the green light for an October 2012 release. This was according to a Kotaku translation of a story from a South Korean publication, Maeil Business Newspaper.

According to the translated quote, the Foxconn employee said, "We just got the order. [The release] will be around October."

Exciting news indeed. But let's not forget that it was literally days ago that another Foxconn employee claimed that the iPhone 5 would ship in June. Thus, if Foxconn employees are reliable sources of Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) release information, it means that the Mac maker suddenly decided to delay the next iPhone beyond a (hopeful?) summer release.

I don't buy it.

Not the part about Apple releasing the iPhone 5 in October, but the implication that Apple may have actually delayed the smartphone's release. Internally, I'm sure delays and release date changes occur all the time. But there is no way that the company would carelessly indicate to Foxconn that the iPhone 5 was slated to ship this summer when it wasn't locked down.

As I stated in my previous article, Apple does not need to release the iPhone 5 any time soon. The company is selling millions of units of the existing model, the iPhone 4S, and continues to sell a decent amount of older models as well. Going forward, the sales of all existing iPhones will surely diminish. The amount at which they diminish could not possibly be significant enough to warrant an imminent release of the next-generation iPhone. June is only two months away, and the new iPad has barely been out a month. Does anyone really believe that now is the right time -- in the eyes of Apple or its consumers -- to release the iPhone 5?

Let's put it another way. There are a multitude of rumors for the iPhone 5, most of which deal with its shape and size. One of the most recent rumors indicates that Apple will shift to a unibody case, AppleInsider reports. This would be an interesting transition, as Apple has gradually redesigned its MacBook line with unibody cases. By doing the same for the iPhone 5, the device would be stronger, last longer, and provide Apple with an impeccable selling point. While other smartphone manufacturers have bragged about their phones' solid cases, Apple's marketing spin would do so much more for the iPhone.

The unibody case may also make the iPhone 5 look better. Who wouldn't want a sleeker, tougher-looking iPhone? Apple could unveil a unibody iPod Touch and iPod Nano as well. The Nano is great, as is the iPod Touch, but they need an upgrade if Apple wants to continue manufacturing them.

With all this in mind, a June release date seems silly.

But let's ignore the silliness and focus on what matters most: quality. The iPhone 4S was more of a software upgrade than anything else, leading to some disappointment within the tech community (initially, at least -- Siri ultimately won people over). If the iPhone 5 is to be the ultimate smartphone that we are all hoping for, Apple needs to take its time and develop a proper upgrade. I'm not saying the company should skip out on summer entirely; if it truly wants to release the iPhone 5 during the warmer months as initially rumored, then it could mean the smartphone is closer to completion than we thought. But if it comes out too quickly, it won't be the upgrade that anyone wants.

By that same token, if Apple delayed the iPhone 5 into the ground, the anticipation would be so high that it could never live up to the hype. But that is one of the reasons why Apple does not set release dates in advance. It lets the media rum wild with hype, rumors, and anticipation-filled articles, and then picks a time at which it wants to release each product. That way the hype is always there. But officially, none of the products have ever been delayed because Apple never promised to deliver them by a specific date.

As long as this strategy continues to be profitable for Apple, don't expect the company to change its ways. Not now, not 12 months from now, and not even 10 years into the future.

Follow me @LouisBedigian

Posted-In: Apple AppleInsider foxconn iPhone iPhone 4SNews Rumors Tech Best of Benzinga


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