Apple will unveil its next iPhone on Sept. 10, according to unnamed sources cited by the AllThingsD blog. See also: Live coverage of Apple 2013 iPhone launch event from Cupertino, California.
The iPhone 5S, the name most analysts and pundits have used in a sop to Apple's naming practice, will include an improved camera, a faster processor and probably a fingerprint sensor to secure the device, rumors have claimed. It will run iOS 7, the visually-revamped mobile operating system that Apple seeded to developers in early June.
The Sept. 10 date syncs with last year's introduction of the iPhone 5, which was revealed at a San Francisco event on Sept. 12, 2012, a Wednesday. That model was available for pre-ordering two days later, and went on sale Sept. 21.
Although AllThingD's date is a Tuesday, as opposed to a day later last year, Apple may not have wanted to launch the new smartphone on Wednesday as it is the twelfth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attack on New York and Washington, D.C. (See also: iPhone 5C vs iPhone 5S comparison review: what's the difference between iPhone 5C and iPhone 5S?)
A September on-sale date would let Apple squeeze revenue from initial sales of the iPhone 5S into the third quarter, which ends Sept. 30.
In 2011, Apple introduced the iPhone 4S on Oct. 4 and started selling the device Oct. 14.
Assuming Apple keeps to last year's timetable, it would open pre-orders for the iPhone 5S on Sept. 12 or possibly Friday, Sept. 13, and begin sales in its retail stores, those of its carrier partners, and its own e-store on Friday, Sept. 20.
Apple will likely use the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco to unveil the iPhone 5S. The Cupertino, Calif. company has staged several product launches there, including the iPhone 5 last year.
Invitations to the press and industry analysts would probably go out Tuesday, Sept. 3, the day after the Labor Day holiday in the U.S.
Apple may also use the same event to roll out a lower-priced iPhone, possibly dubbed the iPhone 5C, that it could use to beat back the hard-charging Android competition, which sells large numbers of less expensive smartphones in developing markets, China and India.
Apple's share of the global smartphone has eroded over the last year because of Android's strength. IDC's latest estimate put Apple's market share at 13.2% for the second quarter, down from 16.6% in the same period the year before.
AllThingsD's Ina Fried, who reported the Sept. 10 launch date, also said that OS X Mavericks, the next version of the Mac's operating system, would be unveiled at a separate event.
Mavericks is late compared to 2012's OS X Mountain Lion, perhaps because developers were shunted to the iOS team to complete work on that operating system's version 7 earlier this year.
Apple has said only that it would release OS X Mavericks this fall, a timeline that could mean a launch date like that of OS X Leopard, which went on sale Oct. 26, 2007, the last time an upgrade did not debut in July or August. Leopard had been delayed because OS X developers had been shanghaied to help get the first iPhone's software out the door.
Even if Apple says little of OS X Mavericks next month, it would not be surprising if the company at least named the month of its launch. Apple typically names an on-sale month several weeks before the next OS X goes on sale.
Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer, on Google+ or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed. His email address is [email protected].
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