New rumors seem to focus on September as the launch date for the iPhone 5, rather than as the time at which mass production of the next-generation of Apple's hot-selling device will launch. The new rumors came from three unnamed sources speaking to Reuters.
Two earlier reports from analysts stated that mass production of the iPhone 5 would not begin until September, which would mean a later launch in 2011, or even an early 2012 release. This and other reports continue to show release dates that are all over the map.
This is generally the time of year that next-generation iPhone rumors begin to circulate heavily. In fact, just over a year ago, on April 19, 2010, Gizmodo posted a report and teardown on an iPhone 4 prototype, which it had acquired after the device had been left in a bar and found by another party. It was later revealed that the device had been lost by Apple employee Gray Powell, in a Redwood City, CA bar.
This incident eventually led to legal issues for Gizmodo, and the investigation is nearing an end. It is unclear if Gizmodo will be charged with any crimes.
Meanwhile, this year, there have been no lost iPhone 5s. Although most were expecting the iPhone 5 in summer, as has been the case for the last few years, Apple stated that WWDC 2011, where the announcements have been made, of late, would focus on software: iOS 5 and Mac OS X 10.7. Most assumed that meant that the iPhone 5 would be delivered "late."
In addition, it's expected that Apple will soon release the white version of the iPhone 4, which has been delayed since the iPhone 4's launch in June 2010. Generally, such a move would seem to make little sense, if an iPhone 5 was to be delivered in June, only two months away.
Apple's latest public announcement on the white iPhone 4 was "spring," but Apple SVP of worldwide marketing Phil Schiller Tweeted in March that the white iPhone was still on track for "spring." He added that the white version was beautiful.
An additional, though natural rather than business or technological factor is the earthquake in Japan. The March 11 Sendai quake has been expected to impact components destined for the iPhone 5.