Reports: Apple to unveil next iPhone in September

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) will unveil its next iPhone in mid-September, with Sept. 12 the likely date, according to multiple reports.

The reports, from BloombergReuters and AllThingsD, which all cited unnamed sources, build on an earlier rumor from the blog iMore. According to the reports, Apple will launch a design overhaul of the iconic device at the event, thought Reuters cautioned that the date may change. Apple declined to comment.

As with earlier reports, the new ones said the next iPhone will have a larger, taller screen, likely around the 4-inch mark, and will have a thinner body and redesigned dock connector. The gadget is also expected to sport LTE connectivity.

If Apple were to start selling the next iPhone in September, as the reports suggest, it will be a break from what Apple did last year of announcing the new iPhone and starting to sell it in October. A September release strategy would allow Apple to keep the main rush of early sales in the third quarter while pushing extra demand into fourth-quarter sales. Last year Apple sold around 17 million iPhones in the third quarter, before the iPhone 4S went on sale; the next quarter sales soared to a record 37 million iPhones.

Prior to the launch of the iPhone 4S in 2011, new iPhones went on sale from Apple in the summer.

One clear indication that Apple is preparing for an imminent launch is the company's pre-purchase of components for the new gadget. Apple's market clout has allowed it to purchase components such as touchscreens and memory chips in massive quantities. According to information in Apple's latest 10-Q filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, first unearthed by AllThingsD, prepayment for inventory components rose $1.15 billion sequentially in the second quarter, which analysts say likely presages a new product announcement, or perhaps multiple new products.

Apple sold 26 million iPhones in the second quarter, which made it the second largest smartphone maker after Samsung Electronics--but the figure failed to meet the expectations of Wall Street analysts. However, a slowdown in iPhone sales was somewhat expected, as the newness of the iPhone 4S wore off and potential iPhone buyers waited for the company's newer model.

Indeed, Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer acknowledged exactly that during the company's earnings conference call. He said that rumors and speculation of a new iPhone "has caused some pause in customers purchasing."

For more:
- see this Bloomberg article
- see this Reuters article
- see this AllThingsD article

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