Apple iPhone 5 gets September release date: report

iPhone 5 – the latest iteration of the popular Apple handset – could hit shelves in September, according to one news outlet. Here's what to expect from the Apple iPhone 5.

The Apple iPhone 5 is reportedly set for a September launch. Here, a user holds an Apple iPhone 4.

The Apple iPhone 5! It exists, probably. As we noted back in March, gossip about a next-generation iPhone has been burbling across the Web for a while now, which makes sense –– Apple refreshes or reboots all of its products on a yearly basis, and the last iPhone was unveiled last June. This week comes news that the iPhone 5 could hit shelves in September, a couple months off the usual pace, but perfect for back-to-school and the holiday shopping season.

According to Reuters, which cites "three people with direct knowledge of the company's supply chain," Apple's latest touchscreen handset will look more or less like the old touchscreen handset. But the iPhone 5 is likely to get a faster processor, Reuters reports. Meanwhile, over at PC Mag, the list of possible improvements on the new iPhone includes a better antenna and an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera. (The current iPhone 4 sports a 5-megapixel model.)

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And then there is the rumor about the inclusion of NFC technology on the iPhone 5 –– a functionality that would allow users to "swipe" their smartphones, as they do with credit cards or subway passes. (The Nexus S smartphone is already equipped with NFC tech.) Last month, Elizabeth Woyke of Forbes reported that manufacturers are "gearing up for the additional NFC traffic the iPhone 5 will bring."

"From what I hear, it is possible the iPhone 5 will include NFC. An entrepreneur who is working on a top-secret NFC product told me today that he believes the iPhone 5 will have NFC and cited a friend who works at Apple as a reliable source for the information," Woyke wrote. "To further bolster his statement, the entrepreneur said that manufacturers of NFC readers – whom he has been talking to for his own product – also expect the iPhone 5 to have NFC."

So why is Apple holding off until September to the launch the iPhone 5? Well, part of the issue might be the (probable) spring release of the much-delayed white iPhone 4. The new model could keep interest high in the iPhone line –– and stir up a nice little media frenzy, which is always good for sales –– and then in September, Apple could take the wraps off its brand-new Apple iPhone 5. A nice little one-two punch.

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