iPhone 5 Timeline: iOS 5 Next Week, Announcement the Week After

 

This should be a reassuring image for you: it stands to reason that millions of iPhone 5 units stand ready at the assemblers’ plants, their butts turned upward waiting to be loaded with iOS 5, capping the final production hurdle before the device is launched in early October. We now have a timeline that finally makes some reasonable logistical sense: iOS 5 golden master next week, and the iPhone 5 announcement for the first week of October.

While some tech websites argued that September 23rd would be the day that iOS 5′s golden master was released, Apple Insider pegged its release for sometime between the 23rd and 30th: “Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo revealed to AppleInsider on Monday that the new iPhone and iPod touch went into mass production in late August, and assemblers are currently scheduled to receive the golden master of iOS 5 the week of September 30. Typically, a golden master version of software is identical to the code that eventually becomes the final release to the public.”

The prevailing sense is that the final cut of iOS 5 is also the final piece of the puzzle for finishing the iPhone 5: “Upon receiving the software, Apple’s overseas assemblers will be able to install it on the finalized hardware and prepare it for shipping. The latest version of iOS will come pre-installed on both the fifth-generation models of the iPhone and iPod touch, set to be released in the coming weeks.” It would also make some sense that Apple would stagger the final version of iOS 5 to be released a week or so before the iPhone 5‘s product launch, in the event that there were any last-minute issues with installing the software into the new units.

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It also explains why Apple will remain mum about its media event until they are 100% sure that all is well with the iPhone 5 and iOS 5: if they were to announce the media event before confirming that production and post-production was running smoothly, any problem would require them to postpone the media event, which would be anti-climactic to say the least.

In 20/20 hindsight, it begins to make sense why the iPhone 5 hasn’t been released until now: the new iPhone would have undoubtedly come with iOS 5 out of the box, which means that it would never be ready for release until iOS 5 was ready. While many iPhone enthusiasts have preached this logic throughout the iPhone 5′s rumor cycle, it didn’t stop the tech community from predicting dozens of false release date predictions.

iPhone 5 or iPhone 4S?

With the reported October 4th release date making its way through the entire mainstream media, the conversation about the next iPhone has shifted to what it will turn out to be: an overhauled iPhone 5 or refreshed iPhone 4S. If you recall, the iPhone 4S rumor that permeates the discussion today is very different from where it began: the first discussions of it date back to pre-WWDC, when there was a rumor that Apple developers had been given an iPhone 4 equipped with the A5 chip and early version of iOS 5, dubbed the “iPhone 4S.” Charles Moore wrote an article about it as far back as April 23rd.

In that article, this what Charles wrote: “one avenue Apple could take on its iPhone evolution roadmap would be to come out with an actual iPhone 4S sometime between now and the fall with the A5 chip plus perhaps an 8 megapixel camera and some of the other upgrades that have been rumored for the iPhone 5 that would work with the iPhone 4 form factor, leaving the iPhone 5 designation for a much more radical change to be introduced during the first half of 2012.” Charles is on the verge of being officially dubbed “the iPhone 4S oracle,” since his early speculation has fast become the prevailing belief about the next iPhone.

In addition, our own sources here at the iPhone 5 News Blog have confirmed that the next iPhone will retain the general form factor of the iPhone 4. And since Apple typically likes to pick symbolic dates for media events, perhaps October 4th is significant in promoting the name of the next iPhone as “iPhone 4S?”

Still, there are a bevy of stories and rumors that appeared throughout the Summer that also suggest an overhauled iPhone 5, complete with larger screen, teardrop form factor, and elongated home button. The evidence that supports these rumors generally involve leaked photos, pre-fabricated Chinese-made iPhone 5 cases, and other paraphernalia. It remains up to the iPhone enthusiast to decide for him or herself which set of evidence is more compelling,

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