For a company as secretive as Apple, a rumor sourced from the Wall Street Journal is sometimes the closest thing we’ll get to an official proclamation from Apple. So when All Things D this week claimed that Tim Cook would officially unveil Apple’s next-gen iPhone on October 4, it was largely assumed to be accurate. Besides, Apple has a history of using trusted publications like the Journal to plant controlled leaks.
So let’s assume that October 4 is, in fact, the official iPhone 4S/5 unveiling.
Okay, so that’s great that we have a date, but when can users actually expect to see the latest iPhone on store shelves?
Only Apple knows the answer to that for certain, but Philip Elmer-DeWitt has taken a look back at the typical lag time between Apple product announcements and product launches over the past few years.
As you can see, the shortest period of time between unveiling and launch was 9 days and involved the iPad 2. With respect to the iPhone, the iPhone 4 waiting period was 17 days while the wait time for the 3GS was only 11 days.
So how does this inform our guess?
Well, the original report claimed launch would occur within a few weeks of the October 4th announcement, so we have to imagine a two week wait time at the minimum. Also, it stands to reason that Apple wants to get these suckers out the door as soon as possible given the 3-4 month delay in getting these to market in the first place.
Now typically Apple likes to release the iPhone on Fridays so we have to imagine launch day will occur on Friday October 14th at the earliest and perhaps October 21st at the absolute latest.