Apple may be preparing to launch a redesigned iPhone 5 with a 4-inch display over the summer, according to the latest unconfirmed report from 9to5Mac.
The story cites an unnamed employee at Foxconn, which manufactures products for Apple. If it sounds familiar, it's because the same rumors were circulating around this time last year. Of course, Apple ended up launching the iPhone 4S, which has the same external design as the iPhone 4, instead.
Though 9to5Mac claims its source has been accurate in the past, it's easy to be skeptical--especially about timing. If Apple launches an iPhone 5 this summer, less than 10 months after the iPhone 4S, it risks angering fans who might've otherwise waited for the new model.
More importantly, Apple doesn't need to rush ahead with the iPhone 5. The company just reported a record quarter in which they sold over 37 million iPhones. Apple's use of an existing design and the same screen size was obviously not an issue for the average consumer. Even in the months before Apple launched the iPhone 4S, its predecessor was still the best-selling smartphone on AT&T and Verizon. All signs point to Apple continuing to sell tons of iPhone 4S models for most of this year.
The only thing that might force an early iPhone 5 launch would be support for 4G LTE networks. AT&T and Verizon have pretty much stopped releasing high-end smartphones without 4G support, so Apple may feel some pressure to have its own 4G models ready by the summer. But again, even though some iPhone buyers have said they wanted 4G LTE, sales figures tell a different story. The iPhone outsold all Android phones combined on Verizon Wireless last quarter, even as the carrier aggressively pushed 4G LTE. I just don't see Apple's 3G iPhones suffering anytime soon.
So as always, take these Apple rumors lightly. While a redesigned iPhone 5 seems possible--especially because it didn't happen last year--the release date will likely be debated in conflicting stories for months to come.