According to a report from Apple enthusiast site 9to5Mac, the next revision of the iPhone will be hitting store shelves during the summer months of this year. This release window would align with the upcoming contract expiration date of 1.7 million AT&T customers that purchased the iPhone 4 within the first three days of release on June 24, 2010. The same source that provided this information to 9to5Mac also predicted that the iPhone 4S was going to be the only iPhone model announced during 2011 prior to Apple’s fall event last year. The Foxconn employee also indicated that the new model is currently prepping for full production and a variety of pre-production designs have been distributed among management at the facility.
The source also indicated that the new version of the iPhone will offer a 4-inch screen rather than the 3.5-inch screen found on the iPhone 4S. In addition, LG may be manufacturing the screen for the final version. In addition, none of the models utilize the teardrop-shape design as seen on the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS. The pre-production models also don’t resemble the form factor of the iPhone 4 or the iPhone 4S.
While the launch of a new iPhone model less than a year after the release date of the iPhone 4S may cannibalize sales, Apple may be anxious to launch support for 4G LTE networks on AT&T, Verizon and Sprint on the new device. In fact, Apple could even call the new device the iPhone 4G rather than the iPhone 5. However, yesterday’s earnings call paints a rosy picture for Apple’s iPhone 4S. With just over 37 million iPhones sold during the fourth quarter of 2011, the majority of those models were the iPhone 4S according to CEO Tim Cook. Regarding the iPhone 4S, Cook stated “We made a very bold bet entering the quarter as to what the demand would be. And as it turns out, despite it being a very bold bet, we were short of supply throughout the quarter and did end with a significant backlog.”