iMore Editor-in-Chief Rene Ritchie is reporting this morning that the site has been told by unnamed “sources who have proven accurate in the past” that Apple is planning to announce the new iPhone, a new iPad mini, and a new iPod nano at a special event on Wednesday, September 12, 2012, with consumer release of at least the iPhone to follow 9 days later on Friday, September 21. Ritchie says he hasn’t any info on a release date for the iPad mini yet, but suggests that it could be the same as for the iPhone 5. He notes that it seems likely the new iPod touch will be announced on September 12 as well, although his sources didn’t reference it, and he hedges the whole report with a prudent “if these announcement and release dates prove accurate” disclaimer.
However, it is a plausible scenario, and scheduling the actual product release for September 21 would come very close to honoring Apple’s having previously announced an iOS 6 “fall” release at the World Wide Developers Conference and reconfirmed that in its latest quarterly fiscal report, although technically, autumnal equinox falls on Saturday, September 22 this year.
Scheduling the iPhone 5 product announcement for September 12 would formally consummate the much hotter-selling product’s takeover of the prime early September time slot that has been occupied by the iPod for most of the past decade, and which would make strategic sense now that the iPod is more or less a second-tier Apple product line, albeit a still profitable one.
As for the iPad mini, I’m a bit skeptical that Apple would want to schedule consumer rollout of two different marquee products simultaneously for logistics reasons, but it’s not impossible that they would. However, announcing the device on Sept. 12, with the consumer rollout to come in, say, October, would confirm that it actually is in the pipeline, and could persuade many who are considering purchase of a 7-inch to wait for the Apple machine rather than opting for a Google Nexus 7.
Regarding new iPhone specifications, Ritchie subscribes pretty much to a dominant consensus that’s gelled over the spring and early summer that it will have a 4-inch, 16:9 aspect ratio in-cell technology display, a the new smaller 19-pin dock connector, nano-SIM support, LTE/4G support, and a larger-capacity battery, all of which I consider reasonable expectations at this point. He doesn’t speculate on what SOC Apple will power the new iPhone with. I’m still expecting the downsized dual core A5 chip that Apple’s been putting in recent iPad 2s.
A NFC “digital wallet” feature seems a longer shot for this time around, notwithstanding Apple’s reported $350 million acquisition last week of AuthenTec, a company that makes embedded security solutions for mobile devices. Engineering of any iPhone model that could be released before Christmas would have been finalized long since, so whatever new functionality that may be facilitated by Authentec’s technology will come in 2013 at the earliest.
As we reported here July 17, danbo at the Japanese language Apple-watcher blogsite Macotakara says “reliable Chinese sources” have told him production of the new iPhone has entered the manufacture phase, consistent with stockpiling of inventory for a late September or October product launch.