Although reports already surfaced in June that the iPhone 5 was in final testing, the Guardian has released a new report detailing the process for carrier testing of the iPhone 5, suggesting that this testing is currently underway.
My carrier sources tell me that the boxes in which the new iPhone hardware is encased have been transported to carriers for testing. This is an important step in the release cycle for any phone. … The next iPhones go for their testing inside locked and sealed boxes so that the carriers can carry out checks on their network compatibility in their labs. It’s very high security, as you could guess; my understanding is that barely anyone inside the carriers gets to open those boxes, and even when they do the hardware is encased in a dummy body which means there’s no clue to what the actual phone will do.
The report continues to suggest that the final carrier testing should only take a few weeks, strengthening rumors surrounding a September launch of the iPhone 5. Further, The Guardian is not the only notable establishment that has been critical of October release rumors for the iPhone 5.
Mike Abramsky, an RBC Capital Markets analyst, noted that Apple would be experiencing a future product transition this quarter,, and also reported that channel checks continue to suggest an August/September Apple manufacturing ramp leading to a September launch.
In addition, reports of increased Apple Retail staffing, vacation blackouts, leaked design sketches and cases, and US retailers already slashing prices on the iPhone 4 all strongly point to a release occurring sooner rather than later.