updated 10:30 am EDT, Tue May 17, 2011
Production slated to begin in third quarter
The iPhone 5 should begin production in the third quarter, and have two key enhancements over the iPhone 4, industry contacts tell FBR Capital Markets. The first is that the device will use an 8 megapixel camera, based on a CMOS sensor supplied by OmniVision. Sony could be a backup provider, FBR says, in spite of skepticism from other analysts. The company is among other things allegedly unable to produce as many parts as OmniVision.
The other enhancement is a switch away from an Intel/Infineon baseband chipset to one supplied by Qualcomm. The new chipset will allegedly support both GSM and CDMA, allowing a single device to operate with a variety of carriers, possibly including both AT&T and Verizon in the US. Apple is also believed to be working on supporting Sprint and/or T-Mobile USA.
FBR estimates that while about 20 million iPhones will be built in the third quarter, only 8 million or so will be iPhone 5s. The firm doesn't suggest a specific release window for the 5, but if the device does end up representing only a small portion of the iPhones built in Q3, a September or October ship date is most likely. An announcement could take place at Apple's usual iPod event in early September.