Hang on to your hats, because there's another rumored release date for Apple's next-generation iPhone.
The latest comes from the China Times (translation), which says that Apple plans to produce 4 million units of the device following a production run of 400,000 test units. That's all to ready the device for a release in the second week of September.
Other tidbits from the report, which was picked up this morning by Macrumors, include Apple purportedly working to ready another version of the iPad to bring to market "before Thanksgiving." That would give Apple a late-year product launch that--as the last two iPad launches have proven--would make for a tough-to-get gadget during the frenzied holiday shopping season.
The China Times report has some weight in terms of timing. Apple has made a habit of holding its annual iPod-focused music event in September, usually during that first or second week of the month. Apple has also promised to release iOS 5 in "the fall," which officially begins a few weeks later.
Turning to CNET's lovingly updated iPhone 5 rumor roundup, this is the latest in a series of September mentions, the earliest being a Reuters report saying that the new device would be ready to go by then. In early May, Jefferies & Co. analyst Peter Misek weighed in, saying something akin to an iPhone 3GS-like update would be hitting store shelves in September. That was followed just a few days later by a Digitimes report, echoing the same timeline and noting that it would be an incremental update.
In late June, a Bloomberg report said that a new iPhone would be hitting in September to coincide with iOS 5's debut. Digitimes followed, saying Apple had actually placed an order for 15 million of the devices in time for a September release, well above what China Times is now reporting. All this was topped off with a U.K. job posting earlier this month looking to staff up iPhone sales specialists for Apple's retail stores to work from mid-August through the end of October for "an exciting project." Two separate reports from Macrumors and Boy Genius Report later noted that Apple and AT&T were readying employees for something big right around that same time.
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As for an iPad 2 follow-up this year, this is not the first such murmur. A report from Digitimes at the start of this month said Apple was pulling together materials to start work on an iPad follow-up, in time for an October release. Days later, blog This is my next chimed in, claiming Apple was planning to launch an HD model of the iPad aimed at the high-end market, sporting a display with double the resolution that could run pro-level photo and video applications. That model was said to be launching in the fall, alongside a new iPhone.
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Apple has released a new iPhone every year since unleashing the original model on June 29, 2007. The latest, the iPhone 4, is now more than a year old. The company reported sales of 20.34 million iPhones in its most recent fiscal quarter, which was up from 18.65 million units the quarter before. While Apple doesn't break out those sales in terms of the differing models, it did say that it's now up to 220 million iOS devices total.