updated 10:55 am EDT, Wed July 18, 2012
Device not quite in full production, source claims
The next-generation iPhone will have 1GB of RAM, LTE 4G, and most notably NFC hardware, claims a source for the Boy Genius Report. While LTE and more RAM are generally expected, talk of NFC has been largely quiet except for alleged hints in the codebase. The technology could allow iPhones to make mobile payments, or other quick data transfers with nearby devices.
The BGR source also says that the new iPhone hasn't quite made it to full-scale production. Apple devices are said to go through several precursor stages, including engineering verification tests (EVTs) and design verification tests (DVTs). The sixth-gen iPhone is said to be in EVT3, meaning it has yet to go through any DVTs. For reference, the source explains that the Verizon iPhone 4 hit EVT2 in mid-November 2010, EVT3 in the last week of November, and made it to DVT2 by late December. Going back further, the iPhone 4 that was ultimately sold to Gizmodo is said to have been in the DVT phase in late March 2010, having reached EVT2 in mid-February. It shipped in June.
If other reports hold up, Apple still has time to operate. Most rumors have only called for the new phone to ship in October, although some have put a launch as soon as September. The iPhone 4S shipped in mid-October 2011.