The speculation surrounding the iPhone 5 release date has come to an end. According to an employee of Apple who spoke on condition of anonymity, the long awaited device will debut on October 5, 2011. Its appearance may also bring answers regarding new features and whether the nation’s third largest carrier, Sprint, will be providing service along with AT&T and Verizon Wireless.
Apple has made no official statement as of yet, which is typical for products not yet released. The October 5th launch date would fit in with the company’s most recent moves regarding new products; on a Tuesday or Wednesday. While there is no way to know if the anonymous employee is correct, the news has helped to squash ugly rumors of iPhone manufacturing issues and a launch delay into 2012.
If the information proves to be true, the following scenario will play out. One week before launch, Apple will make an announcement about a press conference and will invite those it wants to attend. While nothing specific will be said regarding the purpose of the press event, the invitation will most likely offer hints about the iPhone 5 so the right people show up. The launch will be netcast in order to get all the product information to the consumer as quickly as possible, without the technical media watering it down. It is most likely that Phil Schiller, Apple Vice President, will play host but it is also possible that Steve Jobs himself may put in an appearance. Jobs may want to show investors that he is not on his deathbed and he thinks the iPhone 5 is very important. The press event will also offer a good look into Apple’s new management team.
The phone’s date of release will be one of the final things on the agenda. Employees will demonstrate the new phone and explain iOS features that were not covered by previews earlier in the summer. Hardware will be discussed next and the much-speculated new “killer feature”, which could be a bigger screen area or 4G LTE capability, will be unveiled. This will be followed by a listing of specs and the pricing model. If the Sprint carrier is indeed coming on board to carry the iPhone, CEO Dan Hesse will be on hand to offer a speech. Verizon’s CEO could make an appearance, as well, as this would be the first iPhone launch event it has been eligible to attend.
There is typically a period of two and a half weeks between an iPhone announcement and its actual appearance at retailers, which would put the date at Friday, October 21, 2011. Pre-orders will be taken online a week ahead of this date if there is enough inventory to cover it, however, they may be discontinued quickly if the demand proves to be too high. Consumers will begin lining up outside big box stores such as Best Buy and Radio Shack the night before, which will be a test of how well prepared Apple is.