Apple iPhone 5 Launch ‘Officially’ Set for September

Ok, it's not a lock- but if it doesn't happen, Apple is in deep trouble

By Jeff Reeves

iphone pocket 630pxIt’s official, iPhone fans – you will get your shot at a shiny, new iPhone 5 from Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) by the end of September.

OK, well it’s not official official. Apple and Steve Jobs plays his cards notoriously close to his vest on product launches, and the iPhone 5  hasn’t got a formal date yet. But after a host of similar rumors swirling around tech blogs, this latest report of a September launch comes from a highly respected source – The Wall Street Journal.

For starters, the Wall Street Journal report cites sources close to Apple’s component manufacturers who describe to a much sleeker iPhone 5. The next generation of the Apple smartphone should be significantly thinner and lighter than previous generations of the gadget.

Upgrades include an 8 megapixel camera, on par with lower end point-and-shoots. That’s a big improvement above the 5 megapixel camera in the current iPhone. Previous reports of iPhone 5 features had hinted at a camera upgrade, as well as improved iPhone screen resolution to showcase the sharper pictures, but the WSJ nails it down.

Another WSJ source boasted of a big upgrade to processing speed for the iPhone 5, too. The insider said the smartphone will operate on Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) wireless chips that are a step up from previous Infineon Technologies processors produced by an Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) subsidiary.That could make the smartphone almost as fast as the iPad.

While the technical specs of these upgrades are fun to note, the most important detail gleaned by the Wall Street Journal was that collectively, orders of these components point to a launch by the end of September based on anonymous sources and supplier comments.

A spokeswoman at Apple, of course, declined to confirm anything.That’s because something couldt still delay the iPhone 5 further. Separate sources warned the next iPhone could be delayed further if manufacturers in Taiwan can’t step up production rates to meet Apple’s aggressive goals.

But there seems far too much riding on the iPhone 5 launch for Apple to kick the can any further down the road at Apple. iPhone sales accounted for about half of the Apple’s nearly $25 billion in revenue last quarter, and over 100 million of the gadgets have been sold since its first incarnation in 2007. As a result, Apple stock is up over 540% in the last five years. The iPhone is a huge cash cow.

Apple typically launches its new iPhone models in the summer, so the company is already a few months behind schedule – causing some Wall Street analysts to dampen expectations for the stock. The delayed launch naturally means delayed profits, since Apple sold a stunning 3 million iPhone 4s in the first three weeks after the smartphone’s debut.

In short, all signs point to a September launch for the newest version of the iPhone. And if Apple doesn’t hit that date, both investors and gadget geeks alike are going to have serious gripes with the tech giant.

Jeff Reeves is the editor of As of this writing, he did not own a position in any of the stocks named here. Follow him on Twitter via @JeffReevesIP and become a fan of InvestorPlace on Facebook.

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