Apple takes their pre-release devices very seriously, so seriously in fact they’ve been known to ship testing devices to carriers alongside bolts and chains, and the treat of prosecution should there be leaks to the media.
According to The Guardian, Apple has already shipped the iPhone 5 to carriers inside of a locked and sealed box. The phone is also supposedly encased in a dummy case so that whoever gets a look at the device has no idea what the phone will actually look like. This cloak and dagger approach is an attempt at giving the carriers enough access to the device to carry out network compatibility testing without actually having to give them a phone to test on their network.
Charles Arthur, the journalist who wrote The Guardian piece, believes that these boxes have already been shipped out to carriers, and the test devices are actually undergoing testing right now. Should the phones pass the carrier’s requirements, Apple would then be able to sell their devices without any worry that the iPhone would have problems when shipping.
Should this testing be underway, and should the approval process only take a couple of weeks like Arthur suggests, then Apple could have all of the I’s dotted and T’s crossed in time for a September release. Arthur thinks September is still the big launch day, despite recent rumors that a release could happen in October.
I tend to agree with him. The iPhone 5 will likely be announced and shipped within a few select countries before the end of September. If anything, Canada is likely one of the second tier countries to get the phone, and as the rumor suggests, it could be October before Canadians can get their hands on the phone.
My money is on an American release in September, and the rest of the world in October. Just a hunch.