A rather sketchily sourced report says that the iPhone 5 is now in the hands of AT&T’s Mobility division, which is responsible for third-party testing of smartphones before they officially debut. We’re pretty skeptical, but if it’s true, it could mean that the next iPhone could be announced by the end of the month.
According to Chip Hazard, a site whose record on such matters is dim, to say the least:
Our sources claim that the next generation iPhone is in the hands of beta testers right now. They are running tests, including but not limited to signal reception and connectivity tests. They have been given the pre-release version of the iPhone 5 and as soon as they are done with the testing phase, the final work would be sorted out and Apple would then direct manufacturers to start producing hundreds of thousands of new iPhone 5 units, so that they could be timely shipped to millions of anxious iPhone users, and prospective iPhone owners, around the globe.
Chip Hazard says the iPhone 5 has been in AT&T’s hands since July 6th, or about five days ago.
We’re not exactly putting a lot of stock in this report, but if it is true, it means that the iPhone 5 could be announced by as early as the end of this month.
Why? When Apple released the iPhone 4 to Verizon for testing, they only gave Verizon a two week testing lead time, during which period 3rd party field testers had to enter a secret PIN every 12 hours to confirm with Apple that they still had control of the handset.
If Apple has indeed turned the iPhone 5 to AT&T’s Mobility department for field testing, and if they give AT&T the same amount of testing time before announcement as they gave Verizon, that means we could see an official announcement of the next iPhone by as early as July 20th.
That’s pretty unlikely, though. At best, we imagine this reports means that the next iPhone is on track for a late August or early September release, as rumored. Still, if you absolutely can’t wait for the iPhone 5 to drop, here’s a rumor to obsess about for a couple weeks.