There's a crappy signal to noise ratio with Apple rumors.
No matter where you look these days, there's speculation that the iPhone 5 will be delayed. Possibly until 2012. This latest bit of doom-and-gloom comes courtesy of Digitimes. They report that Taiwan-based touch panel makers have not yet begun to shift production from the iPhone 4 to its successor.
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We have about two months before the next iPhone launch. If component makers are still on the iPhone 4, Apple is cutting it real close. Another possibility is that the iPhone 5 will be a very iterative improvement, utilizing most of the same parts and an identical body.
"With demand for the iPhone 4 still riding high, Apple is likely to slightly modify the current version and then stick to its tradition of launching a new iPhone in June or July each year to maintain buying momentum, the sources speculated."
If the phrase "sources speculated" doesn't have you on edge, you're reading it wrong. Speculation is exactly what all this talk about an iPhone delay is. Yes, the recent earthquake lends some credence to theories of a moderate delay. But Apple is not going to just slap an NFC reader on an iPhone 4 and call it a day. I can't imagine an action more out of character for them.
Likewise, a delay until 2012 just sounds far-fetched. Apple would have two awkward choices in that event. Launch one iPhone in January, and another later in the year. Or launch the next iPhone in June 2012 and just skip a generation entirely. Neither seems likely. And until a less vaporous line of rumors comes out, I'd keep your eyes on June for the iPhone 5 launch.
If this year won't be business as usual, we'll know then. And not a moment before. (Unless Gizmodo has another $5000 lying around.)