A number of rumors are flying around today, which point to the likely release of Apple’s final iOS 5 build on or around September 23 — something we’ve heard in the past. The final iOS 5 build — known in the industry as the “Gold Master” build, or the “golden” build — will then be sent to carriers for testing. If approved (which is likely), then the iPhone 5 will, presumably, follow soon after, probably sometime between Oct. 7 and Oct. 14, which would fit into the time period we’ve been hearing for some while.
The Gold Master build of an iOS is often the same version that is released to the public.
The first bit of this information — that the golden version iOS 5 will be relased sometime during the last week of this month — comes via both BRG and AppleInsider, who have been told by sources to expect the final version of iOS 5 around the 23rd.
Apple reportedly has stacks of already-built iPhone 5 units sitting in China, waiting to be loaded with iOS 5 — something that can’t happen until Apple releases its final version of the mobile OS. According to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who spke with AppleInsider, it will take apple roughly 10 to 12 days to ship the next-generation iPhone, as well as the new iPod touch, once the devices are loaded with iOS 5. Assuming the week-of-September-23 time frame is correct, that would land the iPhone 5 in stores by no later than mid-October.
Corroborating this information is another AppleInsider report, which says that Apple has informed its AppleCare staff to prepare for an influx of iOS-related questions starting on October 10. Once source told the publication that Apple has instructed AppleCare workers to expect up to eight times as many iOS questions as they are currently fielding.
Since Apple usually releases software first, then new hardware, it’s unlikely that iPhone 5 will arrive on Monday, Oct. 10, but it is possible, based on previous release schedules, that iPhone 5 could arrive later in the week. For example, iOS 4 arrived on Monday, July 21 of last year; iPhone 4 was announced that following Thursday.
To top it all off, Stephane Richard, CEO of French wireless giant Orange, said that the iPhone 5 “will be release on Oct. 15,” which is a Saturday — not a likely day of the week for such a long-awaited release.
Regardless, all signs are consistently pointing to an October release for the iPhone 5 — not just one rumor, all the rumors. Which could, of course, mean nothing. But there seems to us, the avid iPhone 5-rumor-watchers, a certain je ne sais quoi to the time frame that gives this unofficial Apple chatter a hint of truth. Stay tuned.