Report: Apple's next iPhone coming in September

The next version of Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iconic iPhone will start shipping in September, according to a Reuters report, news that adds more heft to speculation that Apple will bypass its traditional summer release of a new model. 

The report, which cited three unnamed sources with direct knowledge of Apple's supply chain, said production will begin in July or August. The report fits with earlier reports that Apple will focus on software and not hardware at its Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco in June.

An Apple spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

According to the Reuters report, the newest version of the smartphone will look similar to the current iPhone 4 but will have a faster processor. There is precedent for Apple making such a move: The iPhone 3GS, unveiled in 2009, was a speedier version of the iPhone 3G, released the prior year. Apple redesigned the iPhone last year with the iPhone 4.

While speculation about the next iPhone bubbles over, investors and analysts are turning their attention to Apple's quarterly earnings, which the company will report after the market closes today. Apple is expected to report continued strong demand for the iPhone and iPad tablet. It also will be the first quarter in which Verizon Wireless' (NYSE:VZ) sales of the iPhone 4 will factor into Apple's results. However, investors likely will be looking for news on the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan and how the disaster might impact Apple's supply chain for the next few quarters.

Interestingly, Apple may have provided an early indication of its iPhone sales before the official release of its March quarterly numbers, scheduled for this afternoon. As highlighted by asymco, Apple in its lawsuit against Samsung said "as of March 2011, more than 108 million iPhones had been sold worldwide." Asymco said the figures indicate shipments of 18.1 million iPhones in Apple's most recent quarter.

For more:
- see this asymco post
- see this Reuters article

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