iPhone 5 Release Date Speculation Hinged On Production Rumors

The rumor mill is still debating June or the early Fall for an iPhone 5 release. But until we get hard evidence that production in Asia is ramping up, it’s all just theory.

Let’s be clear: when it comes to predicting the iPhone 5 release date, the iPhone 5 rumor mill has a worse accuracy record than even your local weatherman. The release date of the iPhone 5 is the most guarded secret at Cupertino — even more so than features. In the case of the iPhone 4, we had the benefit of seeing its prototype before its official release. With the iPhone 4S, sources got word that it would be a refresh.

But if you recall, the release date rumor mongering last Summer was all over the place.

Proclamations began in late Spring, with a cadre of media outlets claiming that the iPhone 5 would drop at the 2011 WWDC. After it failed to materialize, August was the target month for the release. Then September. Then October.

Now, we’re beginning to see the iPhone 5 release date rumors begin again. A week ago, 9to5Mac confirmed what the iPhone 5 News Blog has stated since November: that June’s 2012 WWDC is a strong possibility for the iPhone 5′s release. Yesterday, we penned a popular article about a new claim that the iPhone 5 release could come in May. While most tech writers have panned that idea, there is a building consensus that June is as much a realistic release month as October or November.

But one thing is missing: reports of iPhone 5 production at Foxconn.

It is true that the 9to5Mac piece claimed several iPhone 5 prototypes are floating around the Foxconn plant — and some have suggested that it is a ploy to keep Foxconn staffers from having an idea of what the new iPhone 5 will look like. But how do we reconcile this with the prevailing belief that the iPhone 5 was eminently ready for production in 2011, but Steve Jobs put the kibosh on it? If the iPhone 5 was so close to being ready, it would be hard to imagine that it would currently be in the prototype stages.

And more striking is that there are no mass production reports coming out of the east.

For as much as I personally believe that June is the likely iPhone 5 release month, I also believe that the next two months are critical to making it happen. If by the end of March, we’re still kicking around rumors of iPhone 5 prototypes, the notion of a June iPhone 5 release is going to have to be rethought.

Of course, last Summer, we had production rumors virtually every month — heck, we even had purported photos from inside Foxconn, showing workers making larger iPhone 5 screens with elongated home buttons (a photo that 9to5Mac used in their recent article). Yet, in the end, we ended up with the iPhone 4S. It only goes to show you that what we said at the outset of this article is true: Apple holds the release schedule of the iPhone closer to its belt than anything else, and in the end, we are all making very uneducated educated guesses.

By Michael Nace



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