“We’ve got a lot more surprises in the works,” Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook said Tuesday in the company’s second-quarter earnings call. “Our teams are hard at work on some amazing new hardware, software, and services that we can’t wait to introduce in the fall and into 2014.” While this statement has left analysts running rampant in their predictions for what those surprises might be — including the much-rumored smart watch — most seem sure that the so-called iPhone 5S will be among the products released this fall.
However, the surprise may be that the still as-yet-unannounced, next-generation iPhone may be coming sooner than expected. A document acquired by AppleInsider — via the French website Nowhereelse.fr — indicated that customers of Japanese telecom KDDI’s “au” wireless service may begin pre-ordering the iPhone 5S on June 20. Reportedly meant for employees of KDDI, the document contained information on pricing and a few details regarding the device’s specifications.
Written and starred in red, the sheet listed the iPhone 5S as a “new product.” According to the information received by AppleInsider, the device is scheduled for a pre-sale announcement date of June 20 and sales will start in July. Under the release dates, a notation described the major feature changes for the new model, including a fingerprint reader, a 13-megapixel camera, and an updated version of Apple’s mobile operating system, iOS 7. Other information on the sheet outlined the carrier’s current monthly plans for the iPhone 5, including LTE flat rate plans and family calling subscriptions.
There is some chance that the leaked document is accurate. The timeline for the Japanese carrier’s release of the phone lines up with Apple’s upcoming Worldwide Developers Conference, which is scheduled to take place June 10 through 14. If the iPhone 5S is announced at this event, it would be one week prior to the June 20 pre-sale date mentioned in the KDDI document. However, this schedule does not match the “fall quarter” time frame given by Apple CEO Tim Cook during the earnings call. Furthermore, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo stated in a research note Monday that the highlight of the WWDC will be upgrades to Apple’s MacBook lineup, not the iPhone.
It should be noted that the document has not been authenticated. Its laminated paper is generally consistent with the current product and pricing “cheat sheets” used by many cell phone dealers and official wireless carriers in Japan, but these types of cards can easily be reproduced because they are often printed from a PDF file, with the only distinguishing feature being the company’s logo.