Apple has made it official. It will have an "executive presentation" Oct. 4 that is widely expected to include the iPhone 5.
The invite, sent to reporters, indicated that the event will start at 10 a.m. PT. All the invite really said is that it was time to talk iPhone.
A few observations worth noting:
The event is at Apple headquarters and appears to be a bit less imposing than the usual massive keynote.
There's even a cafe breakfast and coffee bar at 9 a.m. PT before the event.
The approach from Apple seems a bit different this go round.
Whether the event reflects a new Apple approach to the media remains to be seen, but the iPhone chat is notable because it's CEO Tim Cook's official coming out party.
The iPhone presentation isn't likely to include the pizazz of a Jobs keynote, but the fifth version of Apple's iconic phone is going to be notable. For Apple, the iPhone 5 will set the stage for the next year.
Rumors have been circulating for months about the iPhone 5, but what is known indicates some serious volume for Apple.
The iPhone 5 will be the first Apple device to be available on the top three carriers in the U.S.---AT&T, Verizon and Sprint. That latter one isn't official, but reports indicate that Sprint will get the iPhone.
While the iPad gets a lot of attention, the iPhone remains the cornerstone device for the company. "The iPhone is the cornerstone of Apple's consumer strategy, with few opportunities larger than the global handset market. Now it is positioned to ride a wave of smartphone growth that could top a billion annual unit shipments by 2015," said Morningstar analyst Michael Holt.
Apple's iPhone 5 will provide profit fuel for the next three quarters at least. Wedbush analyst Scott Sutherland argued that the iPhone 5 is a first installment of a new product cycle for the smartphone. He said:
Our checks indicate interest remains strong in the iPhone 4. We also see increased global distribution, especially in China and other emerging markets driving growth. Apple added 42 carrier partners in FQ3, with most added at the end of the quarter and more coming online. By comparison, RIM distributes through over 600 carriers, meaning Apple still has a large opportunity to increase distribution. We also expect new product launches including a new iPhone in early October with store training to begin soon, an iPhone targeting emerging markets, and a LTE iPhone in 2012 with an improved UI. We now expect 21 million iPhones to ship in FQ4, up from 20 million. More importantly, we expect 26 million units in FQ1, up from 23 million, due to seasonality and iPhone 5.