So it seems we may finally know the day Apple CEO Tim Cook will unveil the iPhone 5 and the lower-cost phones that will likely accompany it: Tuesday, Oct. 4. What we don’t know is when you’ll actually be able to pick one up.
One date is almost certainly out: Tuesday, Oct. 4. Even if Apple could overcome the logistical hurdle of getting all its phones ready on the day of the announcement, that’s just not the company’s style. Its world-class marketing mandarins and PR mavens know all too well the value of building anticipation. There needs to be enough time to get people camping overnight outside Apple stores, for one thing. And this year, if early polling is any indication, the lines could be longer than ever.
So how much longer will we have to wait? AllThingsD, the outlet that leaked the announcement news from its gold-plated Apple sources, suggests the phones will go on sale “within a few weeks.” That would put launch day somewhere between Wednesday, Oct. 5, and Tuesday, Oct. 18. However, as Apple 2.0 points out, iOS device launches seem to be getting closer and closer to the announcement date. The iPhone 4 took 17 days to make it to stores, but the iPad 2 was there in just nine days.
So if we’re on the iPad 2 schedule, expect to see the iPhone 5 in stores on Thursday, Oct. 13. But there are plenty of reasons to think it might arrive earlier. Remember the leaked Sprint announcement blacking out vacation time for store employees in the first two weeks of October? It would be odd if Sprint were to go to that trouble, only to allow employees to take time off after the first two business days of heavy iPhone 5-based foot traffic.
That’s one reason why we’re sticking with the U.S. sale date we predicted two weeks ago: Friday, Oct. 7. Yes, it’s only four days after the announcement event, but bear with us. All indications are that Apple has coordinated this launch more closely than ever with its retail and carrier partners, hence the plethora of leaks from Sprint, Best Buy and AT&T, among others. And with all eyes on Tim Cook’s first product unveiling, what better way for him to wow the crowd than to tell them they can get their hands on their object of desire at the end of the week? (That would fit Cook’s brand, too: he’s renowned as a maestro of inventory management.)
Friday launch dates seem to work well for Apple (see the iPad 2 launch); it can take advantage of the fact that relatively little tech news drops on a Friday, as well as the here-comes-the-weekend carnival atmosphere. Just as long as the company doesn’t encourage Rebecca Black to take any part in the festivities, we’re fine with that.
Want to play the iPhone 5 launch date game? Vote for any of these dates in the poll below, or in the comments share what other date you think it might be.