Good morning! We spent part of the weekend gathering new details on the upcoming iPhone, iPod, and iPad releases to share with you today, and have some interesting new information about all of the upcoming models from a highly reliable source—the first one to nail the new iPhone’s unusual body design. According to our source:
1. New iPhone. Apple will be ready to ship the new iPhone starting in mid-September, pointing to a launch date around the third week of September, maybe a little later if it waits to build additional inventory. But just before October is looking increasingly likely.
2. New iPhone Cases. Apple is working on at least two cases for the new iPhone. One is very similar to the Bumper released for the iPhone 4, and is a lock for release. The other is a different design that our source says will have a major impact on the accessory market if released, yet is not hugely surprising. Something with a stand, perhaps?
3. New iPod touch. The new iPod touch will likely be announced at the same event as the new iPhone, and as we’ve previously noted, it will grow in screen size and performance relative to its 3.5”-screened, A4 CPU-based predecessor. Note that if it is released into stores alongside the new iPhone, this will be the first time that Apple offers consumers a choice of bona-fide new iPhone and iPod touch designs at the same time.
4. New iPod nano. As interesting as the new form factor rumors have been, there is too little evidence at this point to suggest that a new iPod nano is actually about to be announced or released. It appears more likely that Apple will focus on other devices this holiday season.
5. iPad mini + Cases. The iPad mini will apparently not be ready to ship at the same time as the new iPhone, and might* have its own debut event. Our source says that it could ship by November, which we noted would be really close to year’s end, during a month that typically doesn’t see new hardware releases from Apple; our source stood firm on the target date. On the accessory front, Apple is working on smaller versions of the iPad Smart Cover and iPad Smart Case for the iPad mini.
6. Fourth-Generation iPad. Apple’s current plan for the fourth-generation iPad is to release another relatively modest body tweak, which would keep the shape basically the same while introducing the new small Dock Connector, a rear-side microphone, and spec-improving/heat-reducing changes to the hardware inside. The rear-side mic might aid in noise cancellation or improve audio quality during rear video recording, and is apparently just like one found on the iPhone 5, between the camera and flash; prototype iPad minis apparently have a mic on the back in the same place.
7. iPad mini + iPad (4th-Gen) Event? The next iPad’s release date is a big question mark right now. As noted with the * above for the iPad mini, Apple could hold a special event just to announce the sub-8” tablet, and our source suggests that Apple might be ready to refresh the iPad at the same time. We and our source both feel that a late 2012 iPad refresh is unlikely given Apple’s track record, particularly the bad press/consumer anger that would follow if something replaced “the new iPad” so soon after its launch. This is purely speculation, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see the iPad announced at a low-key event at Apple’s Town Hall, with the fourth-generation iPad launching around the one-year anniversary of its predecessor.