The date is fast approaching: On Wednesday, Sept. 12, Apple is expected to debut the new iPhone, unofficially dubbed iPhone 5, as well as a brand-new tablet to its iPad line, the iPad Mini. We may even see a new iPod Nano, and a new 13" inch Retina MacBook Pro. The company will presumably connect these devices by launching the newest mobile software, iOS 6, to upgrade the iPhone, iPad and iPod experience.
The Sept. 12 unveiling date for these products, which was first reported by iMore's deeply-connected editor-in-chief Rene Ritchie, was subsequently confirmed by The Verge, The Loop, Reuters, Bloomberg, the New York Times and CNN.
It's safe to assume Apple plans to unveil all of its latest hardware and software innovations at the Sept. 12 media event, But after that event, when can we expect Apple to launch each of these products?
iPhone 5 and iPad Mini: They Won't Be Launched Together
Forget the new iPod and new MacBook Pro for a moment: Even if Apple unveils the iPhone 5 and the iPad Mini on the same stage, it is highly unlikely that these two new iOS devices will launch on the same day.
Think of it this way: Apple Stores, both physical and online, shut down every time Apple releases a new product. Could you imagine if Apple tried to organize lines for not just one, but two major product launches happening simultaneously?
If Apple released the iPhone 5 and the iPad Mini on the same date, it would be an absolute disaster, especially for customers. Lines are already out the door and around the building for these products individually; if half of those people are there for iPhone and half for iPad Mini, and a handful of people are there to buy both products, there may not be a way for Apple to clearly organize the crowds, even if both products are ready to be sold.
How Will Apple Organize The Launch Dates?
Considering the multitude of iPhone prototypes that have recently surfaced, it's safe to say that the iPhone 5 is more ready to go than the iPad Mini.
Apple will most likely get the iPhone 5 launch out of the way first; after all, this product is the most sought-after, and it's the one everyone's been waiting for. The specific release date for the iPhone - nine days after its unveiling, on Sept. 21 - was also reported by iMore and subsequently confirmed by The Verge, The Loop, Reuters, Bloomberg, the New York Times and CNN.
There are several reasons Apple will launch the iPhone 5 first. If Apple released the iPad Mini before the iPhone 5, people might look past it, since most of the attention will deservedly fall on the iPhone. The iPad Mini deserves its own attention too, but it if there's anything that's going to cast any kind of shadow over a new iPad, it's a new iPhone.
Early reports seem to agree with this theory. On Tuesday, DigiTimes reported that the iPad Mini production will ramp up in September, and a reported four million units are said to be ready by the end of that month. In other words, we'll likely see the iPad Mini on stage on Sept. 12, but we won't see it on store shelves until production is sufficient.
"Rumors are circulating in the IT market that Apple will launch its 7.85-inch iPad in October with a thinner screen frame to allow the device to feature a bigger display area than other competing products and will also feature a resolution similar to that of iPad 2," reported Digitimes' Max Wang, citing sources from the Apple's "upstream supply chain."
We don't have a more specific date as to which Friday in October, Apple would release the iPad Mini, but if the company waits long enough, it could strategically overshadow Microsoft's first tablet launch for the Surface.
So therefore, we'll likely see the iPhone 5 launch on Friday, Sept. 21, and the iPad Mini could launch anytime between Friday, Oct. 5, and Friday, Oct. 26.
If Apple launched the iPad Mini on Oct. 5, it would be the one year anniversary of Steve Jobs' death.
iPhone 5 and iPad Mini: What To Expect
Before you get hyped up for buying a new iPhone or a new mini iPad, it's important to know more about the devices themselves and their possible features. First, let's discuss the iPhone 5, which we know much more about, and then we'll detail what we know about the iPad Mini.
iPhone 5 Features: A Brief Summary
More or less, we know what the iPhone 5 looks like, thanks to batches of images released by insiders within Apple's supply chains and repair shops. We expect the iPhone to feature abigger, thinner front plate that stretches the screen just beyond four inches to achieve a 16:9 resolution ratio to watch 1080p HD videos in a widescreen format.
According to the prototypes and images, Apple has also reportedly expanded and redesigned its speaker grills, migrated the FaceTime camera to be directly above the earpiece, moved the earphone jack from the top right corner of the phone to the bottom left corner, and introduced a new camera opening on the backside of the phone between the camera lens and the LED flash, which likely houses a small microphone. Finally, we believe Apple has fixed its iPhone 5 with a unibody metal back instead of an all-glass facade, which could potentially improve call reception, and has also endowed the iPhone with a new, smaller dock connector, which could be as small as 9 pins.
Check out this article for more information about some of the exciting features that we may see in the iPhone 5.
iPad Mini Features: A Brief Summary
We haven't seen nearly as many iPad Mini prototypes as iPhone 5 prototypes, but we have received a number of photos, images and engineering samples that may give us an idea of the iPad Mini's size and features.
On July 10, a photo set of the alleged iPad Mini suggested the mini tablet would be much wider and a little taller than the Nexus 7, Google's recently introduced 7-inch tablet, and it would be slightly thinner than Apple's third-generation "new" iPad. Here's Ingram with the details:
"What we've found, using a pixel count, is that the iPad Mini should be around 213.36mm tall and about 143.67mm wide. This is approximately two-thirds of the size of the new third-generation iPad. The new iPad is 185.67mm wide, 241.3mm tall, and 9.39mm thick."
The iPad Mini will almost definitely feature a Retina Display, front and rear cameras (iSight and FaceTime), and a smaller dock connector (like the iPhone 5). Read here for more information about the iPad Mini.
Of these two exciting new iOS devices, which one would you rather buy? An iPhone 5, or an iPad Mini? Do you think Apple will release the iPad Mini closer to the end of October, or closer to the beginning? Let us know in the comments section below.