Apple Sending iOS 5 to iPhone Assemblers at End of September, No Sign of Redesigned iPhone 5
In a new research note provided to MacRumors, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo reports that Apple is scheduled to send the golden master version of iOS 5 to its iPhone and iPod touch assembling partners during the timeframe of September 23rd through 30th, suggesting a launch for the new hardware around mid-October once the assemblers have had time to install the software on already-produced hardware and ship it out. The claims are in line with other reports suggesting that Apple will debut the next iPhone around the middle of next month.
Back panel from prototype N94 iPhone
Perhaps more interestingly, Kuo specifically tells us that he has seen no evidence of the rumored redesigned "iPhone 5" in the supply chain. Instead, his sources point to the "N94" iPhone that has been popularly referred to as the "iPhone 4S" as the sole new iPhone model set to ship, with Apple planning for 30 million units through the end of the year. Apple is also planning production of an additional 5 million units of the existing iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS models as it transitions to the new model.
While many have been holding out for a significantly redesigned iPhone 5 offering a thinner, tapered profile as shown in third-party cases supposedly based on leaked design documents, essentially no evidence for such a model has surfaced in the form of parts leaks or other details. While some have suggested that the N94 is a decoy/scrapped/backup model and that Apple is keeping the redesigned model under tighter wraps, Kuo is not seeing signs of such a model anywhere in Apple's supply chain.
As for the N94 iPhone, Kuo also shares a few details on the device:
- 512 MB of RAM: This is to be expected, as the next iPhone should be using the same A5 chip found in the iPad 2, which does in fact offer 512 MB of RAM.
- Camera module height "almost same" as in iPhone 4: Camera thickness is the major limiting factor for overall device thickness, meaning that the next iPhone is not likely to be significantly thinner than the iPhone 4. Sony is said to have started shipping camera sensors to Apple's manufacturers back in July, with OmniVision coming online to assist in September or October.
- 3.5-inch display: A number of rumors have claimed that Apple will be using a larger display for the new iPhone, but Kuo's sources indicate the screen will be the same size as that found in the iPhone 4.
- Glass front and back: Although not 100% confident on this item, Kuo's sources suggest that Apple will continue to utilize the same basic design of the iPhone 4, with glass on both the front and back of the device.
- Manufacturing shares: Foxconn is scheduled to handle 85% of the production load for the new iPhone, with Pegatron taking the remaining 15%. As previously noted, Pegatron will be a bit slower to ramp up production, and will primarily be supplying Apple's Asia-Pacific markets.
As for the next-generation iPod touch, Kuo sees very few enhancements over the current fourth-generation models. The most visible change will be the addition of white models, with Apple said to be targeting production at a 60-40 split between black and white for both the iPhone and iPod touch. The iPod touch is said to be set to see a major redesign for the 2012 release.