When Is the iPhone 5 Coming Out? October 7th. Here’s The Complete Release Timeline [Predictions]



Over the past few months, not a day has gone by that our Twitter feed hasn’t been been bombarded by a consistent string of questions that millions of hungry Apple fans are just clamoring to have answered:

When will Apple announced the iPhone 5?

When will I be able to preorder the iPhone 5?

When is the iPhone 5 coming out?

We think we know. Here’s the complete release timeline of the iPhone 5 we think you can expect, starting from which day we think Apple will send out invitations and continuing to the iPhone 5’s October 7th release date.

While Apple is an incredibly secretive company they are also fairly predictable, in that all of there actions are very deliberate. There’s a good saying that’s applicable here: “To figure out what Apple will do in the future, look at what they’ve done in the past.” Every product launch has been preceded by fragmented clues as to what Apple is going to do next. There’s no science to this sort of flexible tradition that Apple has established, but predicting what they’re going to do next is a bit easier than predicting the future via tea leaves. We don’t have any special insider information for the exact dates the iPhone 5 will be launched, but we have a pretty good understanding of how Apple operates, and that helps us extrapolate what is to come.

So here’s what we think Apple’s iPhone 5 Release Timeline looks like:

September 14th – Apple will send members of the press invites to attend their traditional Fall Event.

September 21st – Will be the day the event will be held in the San Francisco area.

September 28th – Pre-orders will be taken online.

October 7th – The iPhone 5 will finally be available to the masses.

How’d we come up with these dates? Let’s work backwards from October 7th.

October 7th: October 7th, 2011 is the most consistently rumored date for the iPhone 5’s release, and there’s some strong evidence to back it up… for example, this leaked internal doc from Sprint saying the iPhone 5 will go on sale in the first week of October. Best Buy says the same thing.

If the iPhone 5 doesn’t actually start hitting stores on October 7th, we’d be gobsmacked if it wasn’t so close to this date as to not make any difference. So if October 7th’s the release date, when can you order one?

September 28th: It’s possible that Apple will offer iPhone 5 preorders the same day as they announce the iPhone 5, but that’s not likely based on Apple’s recent history. When Apple announced the iPhone 4 on June 7th of last year, preorders started eight days later on June 15th… and units started hitting stores on June 24th. If Apple stays consistent — which it usually does — the iPhone 5 will be available to preorder nine days before it debuts.

September 21st: If Apple sticks to the release timeline of the iPhone 4, a week and a half or so before preorders are made available, Apple will host their Fall Event at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, California and officially unveil the iPhone 5.

September 14th: Traditionally, Apple sends out media invites a full week before they hold an event. This gives all the glamorous and important members of the press time to get to the West Coast. Most of the events this year have been held on a Wednesday, and three of the last four Fall media events, at which Apple traditionally announces new iPods, have occurred on Wednesday. Invites to their events typically feature some short tagline that gives a hint as to what we can expect, yet at the same time veiling the announcement with enough secrecy so as not to spoil the surprise.

We think our rationale for Apple’s iPhone 5 release timeline is pretty strong, but you might be asking yourself: why does Apple have so many stages in its timeline for the iPhone 5’s product release? Why not just announce it and make it available for sale the same day?

The answer’s simple: hype!

Apple could certainly wait until millions of units have been produced and shipped before they announce the iPhone 5, but that’s not their style. Every iPhone and iPad launch has had a delicately crafted tsunami of hype insulating it; feeding its growth till it becomes their newest monster. When the new MacBook Airs were announced a few months ago Apple Stores had stock of the new units the very next day, but when it comes to the iPhoneApple loves to titillate their fans worse than Holly Golightly promising to show you the goods if you’ll just be patient. The iPhone 4 was launched on a Friday which gives customers an excuse to duck out of work early at the end of the week to go line up. Lines outside of stores generate press, which in turn generates more interest and more sales. People think they might not get a new iPhone 5 because Apple Stores won’t tell customers how many units they have in stock, leading them to believe their only option for salvation is to wait at the back of the line with the rest of the starved masses. It’s almost revolting how easily Apple drums up hype for a new iPhone before launch, but it works so well and has made every evolution of the iPhone feel important in its own way.

All in all we may be off by a day here or there, but the general outline is something we feel we can currently stand by, based upon what Apple has done in the past. Now you’ll excuse me while I go prep my iPhone 5 Launch line survival kit.

Hat tip: 9to5Mac

  • Tanuj Dua

    An excellent article. I will probably read through it a few times to get my hopes up about it being true lol.

  • Christopher Reese

    Curious.  I can’t remember, when is iOS available typically?  The same day as the iPhone or the same day as the announcement?

  • teco221

    I don’t care…. just give me iPhone 5…..

  • jayjaytee

    Maybe all those people bombarding CoM and other sites with “when will it be available” questions need to find something more constructive to do with their time, or something more important to get excited about.

  • 9to5Mac ?

    this was posted yesterday on 9to5mac’s twitter feed

  • Lake Elkhorm

    I think at least a week prior so that people with existing devices upgrade and can have issues resolved prior to all the new people clogging up the stores.

  • cliqsquad

    iOS 4 was released June 21, iPhone 4 release 3 days later 

    iOS 3 (iPhone OS at that time) June 17, 2009 iPhone 3G S released 2 days 

    iPhone OS 2.0 released same day, July 11th as the 3G

  • FriarNurgle

    Better get in line now.

  • tekunoloji

    I wonder how that kid with all the swag and a tent is doing. He still on the street camping out?

  • macintude

    I can’t be bothered to look up dates, but wasn’t iOS 4 released on the 21st while iPhone 4 was released on the 24th?

  • dagamer34

    The nice thing is that a lot of tech press are already on the West Coast for the BUILD conference next week, so the plan trips will be short.

  • SMiller749

    I agree with this timeline completely.

  • SMiller749

    usually the day of the announcement, but they could always wait.

  • Drknow

    your timeline has one set of problems – the dates for pre-order and release fall on major Jewish religious holidays.  

  • Mike Rathjen

    Have the lines started yet?

  • Jk

    IOs 4 was released before the iPhone 4.
    If there is possible date October 7th. We are just month before nex gen release. That means thousands of iPhones are alredy beeing shipped in containers from Asia to USA by the sea. Month is not that much for the logistic chain to get it to retail stores. I mean… The iOS is still in beta testing!!! There is new beta 7 version released, still no GM version. Would it mean there is 4.3.5 version instaled in iPhone 5? Not sure if Apple installs the Os and pack the devices in US.

  • Joel90069

    Rosh Hashanah begins at sunset September 28. There’s no reason pre-orders can’t begin after midnight that day, approximately 20 hours before. Same with Yom Kippur on October 8th (sunset the 7th). 

  • HerbalEd

    I seriously doubt they’ll announce on a Friday.

  • Behind7proxies

    Uh…  Not being anti-Semitic, or anything, but how’s that in any way relevant?  Maybe if Apple was an Israeli company; but it’s not, it’s American…

  • Behind7proxies

    Sorry, I replied to the wrong person…

  • Behind7proxies

    Uh…  Not being anti-Semitic, or anything, but how’s that in any way relevant?  Maybe if Apple was an Israeli company; but it’s not, it’s American…

  • Mark Harman

    The Yerba Beuna website states this – There are no programs on Wed, September 21, 2011. The next day with upcoming programs is Thu, September 22, 2011.

    That’s a pretty good suggestion of when they will host the Apple event.

  • Guest

    Alot of people managed to upgrade to the pre release of IOS 5 last night by directing their iTunes to the New Jersey bank of servers. Can someone explain how to do this please.

  • dwplay11

    I’ve been wondering why merge an iPhone event with apples annual iPod event. Would be cool to see an iPod touch/iPhone hybrid that’s prepaid. exciting things will be announced. I’m already set on buying the iPhone 5 even though i haven’t even seen it. would be awesome if it looks like the mockup above.

  • Will

    Don’t care about iPhone 5, I just want to install iOS 5 on my iPad 2…….

  • Cowboy Ron

    A great example of how effective Apple’s hype creation is that it even made it to Broadway in Book of Mormon:
    “My sister was a dancer
    But she got cancer
    The doctor said she still had two months more.
    I thought she had more time,
    So I got in line
    For the new iPhone
    At the Apple Store.”

  • Christopher Reese

    This seems to be my recollection, but I am also cant be bothered to do the real research.  

  • Gpicci7931

    i could care less of the iphone 5! i love my iphone 3gs. i just wanna know when ios 5 comes out :( 

  • Gpicci7931

    sorry (and no offense) but why the hell does it matter if those dates are jewish holidays? what u said seems very random :/  

  • CharliK

    You’re basing a lot of this on ‘tradition’ but lets keep in mind that by tradition we’ve had the iPhone 5 (4s or whatever they call it) for two months already. And Sept should be just about iPods and iTunes.

    It is equally possible that:

    On Sept 15th, Apple will announce a Town Hall event the following Tuesday with only local California press being invited. At the same time they will launch a free live stream app for Macs and iOS devices for folks that want to watch a broadcast of the event. 

    During which they announce the new iPods which are shipping to the stores right away and will available to order when the site comes back on line around noon Cupe time (i.e. just after the announcement is over). iOS 5 will also be online starting at noon and rolling out over the course of the following days. US right away, Europe in 24 hours, Asia and Pacific 24 hours after that. iCloud will launch at the same time and on the same schedule for existing Mobile Me members and new members can start signing up a week later regardless of area (these things are done to avoid server overloads like what killed the original MobileMe launch). iTunes Match will launch Oct 1. 

    As for the iPhone hardware they are now showing us. It will go on sale in the US etc etc this coming Saturday. It will be first come, first serve with sales starting at 5pm local time. Stores will close at 2pm for set up. There will be no reservations until Monday 12.01am and no preorders. Online sales will start at 12.01am on Monday. 

  • CharliK

    The current iPhone is fully capable of being prepaid or even 3g optional. It’s the carriers that don’t want those options because the iPhone is a way to get lots of money off those plans

    Now that the US GSM iPhones can be bought unlocked (even if only at full price), all we need is a carrier with the balls to over such things. 

  • CharliK

    You assume that they will have the event there. The Cupe campus had it’s own meeting hall. Perhaps the event will be there. 

    Or perhaps it is before the 21st. Given the relationship between the Center and Apple I could see them agreeing to not put the event on the calendar and if anyone tries to book, it isn’t available. 

  • CharliK

    Which is not really relevant since Apple isn’t a Jewish company and therefore isn’t mandated to follow such dates or restrictions. 

  • CharliK

    As I recall iOS 4 was available the day of the announcement, which gave all the 3g and 3gs folks time to update and not be tying up the servers while they were trying to activate the freshly sold iPhone 4s

  • Sarb

    I am using my broken phone from last 2 months waiting for new release by apple.. common guys let bring it outside…lol

  • MurderinMurphy

    Same here.  Busted 3Gs.  Damned thing won’t stay on now unless it’s plugged into a power source!!

    I’ve been waiting FOREVER, already!

  • James Powell

    its the 14th now!!

  • Garrett

    When will we know when apple sends out its invites?

  • Shaun

    I’m predicting iOS 5 will be released on 5 Oct (Wed). I think they will send out invites on 20/21 Sept for a media event on 27/28 Sept to unveil everything.

  • Mylittlekiss

    iOS 5 will support iPhone 3GS, after that you will have to upgrade your phone to a 5 in order to get the new iOS. 

  • MurderinMurphy

    Now it’s the 15th!

  • Jack McClauren

    Now it’s the 19th!!

  • nex

    It is 22 Sept. Any news?

  • Sublm25

    Why don’t you just buy a different smart phone???? obviously the apple phone isn’t working too well for you. P.S. droid phones are pretty good…

  • Sublm25

    I just don’t get all of the hype around iPhones anymore… I could see when they were new to the market and smart phones were a new thing, but now you can get a phone just as good or better. Guess some people just want to be trendy…. (and yes I know iPhones are not the worst phone, but not worth the hype at all)

  • bigbert89

    from what i heard, apple will offically have its fall event on october 4th. here’s the link below if anyone wants to read it. but if there are any more delays, im switching to Android!


  • nex

    Why hipe. I am sick of using 3G – it has much less features (yes, using retina display is not being trendy, its just more comfortable :) ) than iphone4, but there is no use of buying iphone4 now, if in a week or month I could have iphone5 for the same price… 

    Does anyone have real news like an invitation received?

  • Hanmike56

    Now its the 25th!!!!

  • Hanmike56

    it looks good to hav an iphone when ur calling or txting ;)

  • Isra

    it’s October 1st……..

  • Gigi Ellis

    now its the 1st… and no preorders are available… this is fake lol

  • Bbradycc

    Planning on getting the iphone 5.  I have all my info in a Palm T/X.  How does one get thoin info tot he iphone??  HELP!! and Thank you.

  • mobi

    If you have Verizon, just bring it with you when you get your iPhone 5 at the store, and they just transfer it for free (same with Att) Oh, but if your order it online, you can still take it to the store so they can transfer it for you.

  • Hollie

    i cant wait to get my iphone 5 yes

  • cheah

    you’re wrong !!

  • Sherlock

    some people say its Oct. 4, tomorrow…..I don’t know when its coming out but i’m sure its probably in Oct.

  • Holmes Kamiyah72

    It cum out oct.l 4 tom.

  • 7amoon619

    It’s october 4’th still no iphone….

  • american

    The announcement for the release date will be today, October 4.

  • iGuy

    I just went on apple.com and it said that the iPhone 4S is coming out on October 14 and it will run on iOS 5 but I didn’t hear anything on the iPhone 5

  • iGuy

    iphone 4s due  oct 14 but no 5 even though it will use ios 5.0

  • iGuy

     looks pretty cool to me (iPhone 4S)

  • Kir

    so apple is not as predictable as the author claims since every prediction in this article was false 

  • El Chamakito2010


  • Clothedinpurple

    Sooo….the question is still “When is the iphone 5 coming out?” The 4s is disappointing. It will not work on 4G and it still has that tiny screen!

  • Kankie


  • Jjetzy

    I love everythink about iphone

  • iGuy

    yeah its cool

  • iGuy

    lol the iphone 5 is probably coming out in the winter

  • iGuy

    Good news (at least for me): The iPhone 4S runs on iOS 5.0, and it comes out on October 14th (very soon), which means for non iPhone 4S owners, iOS 5.0 might be released then too, so they can upgrade if they have a compatible device.

  • iGuy

    No one knows but I think around Christmas time (december 25)

  • iGuy

    wait till christmas or buy the 4S

  • iGuy

    October 7th is not when the iPhone 5 is coming out and I feel bad for the Steve Jobs loss he didn’t even see the launches of two devices he preety much created. ;(

  • Apple

    I don’t think iPhone five is going to come out today. If not there would have been an advertisement in the Apple Store web. R.I.P Steve Jobs. 

  • Amanda

    i want the iphone 5 SO bad, here it says oct. 7th and yet still no iphone 5.. what the heck?

  • iGuy

    on apple.com theres now a white ipod touch i like the look of it

  • iGuy

    white ipod touch now its cool

  • Nelsonpro93

    i phones suck ass compared to android

  • Swmatt8

    what about ios 5???

  • Rks

    where the hell is iphone  5 ?? !!!!!!!

  • B Brennan96

    I’m waiting

  • Babu_jee015

    come hurrily amzing ios 5!

  • Yea2020

    rah – am looking at getting the ipnone 4s will there be much difference with 4s and iphone 5?

  • Jasmine

    It’s been 2 months. I think these predictions are horribly wrong! The iPhone 5 will probably come out sometime in December due to the death of Steve Jobs. RIP

  • Diverdib

    I disagree. I am going back to iphone when 5 comes out. Android is fine, not really that big a difference.

  • Rudy Cristiaens

    i think around juli 2012

  • Rudy Cristiaens

    and i need too wait till oktober 2012 because i am from belgium


  • Jetsgrl

    didn’t come out….

  • Joy Peace

    Me too I think so too!

  • amygrace

    im getting the iphone 4 for christmas…..ughhhh i hope they get the iphone 5 kinda late…  that way i can save $$ for it

  • caka

    iphone 5 first pictures are out…its look great…

  • Dan Lynch

    is this really what life has come down to??  the new iphone?  wow!