By Luis Estrada:
With the iPhone on track for a mid-October launch, Nick Bilton of the New York Times claims that an official announcement is just weeks away. Citing an Apple employee who asked, of course, to remain anonymous, it appears that Apple won’t be giving much breathing room between its official announcement and launch day.
It’s widely believed the iPhone 5 will launch by mid-October at the latest, with France Telecom CEO Stéphane Richard stating matter-of-factly that the device will launch in France on October 15th. Seeing as it’s already September 16th, we’d wager on an Apple special event sometime within the next 12 days.
Yesterday, more leaked iPhone 5 case designs emerged from a company called Case-Mate, reigniting speculation that Apple’s next-gen smartphone will sport a larger form factor than the iPhone 4. Indeed, this is what Bilton has heard as well.
From descriptions I’ve heard of the new iPhone from Apple employees, the images seemed potentially authentic. But it seems that Case-Mate might be sneakily trying to take advantage of the excitement over the phone by posting and then unposting the images. These things rarely happen accidentally, especially when it comes to new Apple products.
Sneaky public relations tactics aside, an engineer familiar with the new iPhone said it would be fairly different from the iPhone 4 — including on the inside.
Bilton confirms, not there was much doubt to begin with, that the next iPhone will feature an A5 dual-core processor and an 8-megapixel camera. Last week, an Apple engineer inadvertently posted what is largely believe to be the first public photo ever taken with the iPhone 5.
Further, Bilton weighs on rumors that Apple has been working on an iPhone with mobile payment functionality. This of course was one of the first rumors to circle around the iPhone 5 but reports of built-in NFC technology have died down over the past couple months. Apple’s recent hires coupled with its patent filings and the general direction of the mobile industry, however, all suggest mobile payments will be coming to the iPhone eventually – though likely not on this refresh cycle.
When Apple does introduce a mobile-payment-ready iPhone, the company will immediately have an advantage over its competitors, including Google and Microsoft, which are trying to push payments on mobile devices too. One person familiar with Apple’s plans said the phone’s payment information would be tied to customers’ iTunes accounts, which would make it simple for customers to set up a payment account on the iPhone by simply logging into iTunes.
The iPhone 4 was let out of the bag a few months early thanks to the dubious actions of Gizmodo but Apple is certainly doing a stellar job of keeping everyone guessing with respect to the iPhone 5.