updated 08:30 am EDT, Mon June 13, 2011
iPhone 5 hits AP testing stage
New details reportedly emerging Monday have the next iPhone at the very last stage before production. The new design is supposedly at the AP stage, the very last stage at which the hardware is production-ready and good enough for both Apple and carrier executives to use as secret day-to-day models. The 9to5Mac tip lined up with talk of production starting in July followed by a release in September.
Most devices pass first through an EVT (engineering validation test) stage before moving on to DVT (design validation test) and finishing at AP.
Discussions with Verizon for offering FaceTime over the cellular network have supposedly slipped out at the same time and shown that no deal had been reached. Although not mentioned, it may be technical more than a matter of policy. Verizon's 3G network is slower than its AT&T equivalent and typically hasn't had either the upstream bandwidth or low latency needed for two-way video chat. Video chat is feasible on Verizon's LTE-based 4G, though this isn't expected to reach the iPhone until 2012.
A delve into the iOS 5 developer kit has lastly raised concerns that the iPhone may not get an upgrade to an eight-megapixel camera. Both the previously hinted at N94 prototype with T-Mobile support and a previously unknown N93 have shown but list a back facing five-megapixel camera, not the eight seen before.
It's not necessarily the case that the entries reflect Apple's final design plans. Its pre-release iOS code references can often indicate pre-production machines and not final products. Multiple production rumors have pointed to OmniVision making eight-megapixel sensors for Apple and Largan making supporting lenses for the higher resolution.
Apple's final plans for the next iPhone are still uncertain. Most assume it will use a dual-core A5 chip, but whether or not it's a significant redesign is unknown. Verizon has alluded to it being a dual-mode phone with both CDMA and GSM.