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'Unibody' iPhone 5 said to debut in October

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Apple's next iPhone will be released in October, not June, and it will have a unibody construction similar to that of the MacBook Pro – that is, if you believe the latest crop of rumors.

Last week, the word on the street – the Taiyuan streets outside of the iPhone-assembling Foxconn plant in China's Shanxi province, at least – was that the next iteration of Apple's smartphone would appear in June.

That rumor was voiced by a Foxconn human-resources staffer talking about the 18,000 new hires the company will add to support the huge order they had received from Apple. Monday's new rumor – that the release won't be until October – comes from a Foxconn HR staffer, as well.

But its source is a convoluted one, at best: namely, a report by the gamer-centric website Kotaku that cited an article in the Japanese-language Livedoor which was based on an story in the South Korean Maeil Business Newspaper – one that your Reg reporter was unable to find – that quoted said Foxconn HR staffer.

In other words, "Barkeep, grains of salt all around!"

Also on Monday comes word from AppleInsider that Brian White – the selfsame Topeka Capital Markets analyst who recently predicted that Apple stock would hit $1,001 in the next 12 months – sent a note to investors telling tham that during his recent trip to China and Taiwan, Apple suppliers said that production of the next iPhone would begin in June with release set for October.

AI also quoted White as providing details on the impending new iPhone. "In our view," he wrote, "this will be the most significant iPhone upgrade with a four-inch screen [Not 4.6 inches?—Ed.] and a new, sleek look that we believe will require a Unibody case. This new, sleek look will be the most important reason that consumers decide to upgrade."

Well, a more-compelling reason to upgrade might be the next iPhone's almost-certain LTE capability – but we can't argue with White that Apple's industrial design has frequently been more important to purchasers of its shiny-shiny than iDevices' technical capabilities.

White also fanned the rumors that Apple is developing a 7.85-inch "iPad mini", saying that such a device is, indeed, under development. He added, however, that when or if it would be released remains "unclear".

As followers of Apple's product parade will surely remember, the late Steve Jobs savaged such small-screen iPads during an earnings call with reporters and analysts in October 2010. "While one could increase the resolution of the display to make up for some of the difference," he said at the time, "it is meaningless unless your tablet also includes sandpaper so that the user can sand down their fingers to around one quarter of their present size."

White did not mention any talks with sandpaper suppliers, and as Livedoor reported, any attempt to reach Foxconn's HR headman about the October rumor would be futile. They tried and were rebuffed – he had gone "on vacation", they were told. ®

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