Righto, everyone else is doing it... so why not :)*
So, being I have an arehole like everyone else (and opinions are like areholes), here's my take. All this is sourced from sources close to a situation. ie, my Google Reader account and Twitter, so it can't be wrong:
The 4th October sounds about right. iCloud is being reset on the
22nd26th, and I'd expect iOS 5 to drop fairly soon after ( maybe tuesday next weekwhich would be tomorrow). Why? Beta 7 has been stable, and has been out for a few weeks, so if not, I'd expect another beta next week, based on previous cycles. If I had to pick a date, I'd go with the 27th, as Apple LOVES Tuesdays.
The iPhone 5, aka the high end. I'd love to speculate on the shape, but I suspect it'll be similar to the iPhone 4. Maybe with a bigger screen (retina, but physically larger), but thats about it. Higher res camera:yes. A5: yes. Unlikely to have more RAM, as it's part of the A5 chip package. 32 and 64GB models.
The iPhone 4S, aka the low end. I suspect this will be very similar to the iPhone 4 mashed together with an iPod Touch, and may outright replace the touch. A5, same RAM, same internals. Differences are that the screen is the same one as is on the iPod Touch - so lower res, not retina, and smaller - and the camera is crap-er (ok, maybe 5MP).
There are a few reasons for thinking this:
The first is that economies of scale matter a lot when you make 10's of millions of something. If they can have one production line for the motherboard (for all models), then just branch out to add one of two standard cameras, plug in one of two screens and assemble it, they will save a massive amount just on production.
The second is that iPod Touches sell a LOT of units, but dont count towards iPhone market share. If they put a radio in, then they do, even if most people will not use it.
And lastly,** I think the iPad model - WIFI and 3G - makes a lot more sense than iPhone + iPod Touch**. The iPod brand is on the out, and the iPad/iPhone brand is crazy strong. Plus the iOS5 iPod app is now called "Music" (and "Videos"). Plus carriers have shown that they are happy to do the data side of the iPad without demanding a voice plan.
iMessage is another pointer to this, for me. With a 3G connection, you are even more connected to other people, and it's almost a full replacement of the carrier package except voice (which FaceTime sort of covers). All over the data connection.
While Apple don't need to hit the lower end, they are getting close to saturating the higher end. Well, not saturating, but most people I've come across who want an iPhone, have one. A low end iPhone - iPod Touch 3G? - would allow the devices, and iOS, to get into markets which they are prices out of now. Families, schools, kids, emerging markets, and basically all markets which are not the US or Europe. Think China and India.
In reality, the iPhone and iPod Touch (and iPad, and Xoom, and...) are not phones, in the traditional sense, they are portable computers with a 3G connection. Apple clearly realised this with the iPad, and I think extending that to people who would normally buy a lower-end device - the iPod Touch - would expand the market massively.
But, until something comes out on this page, all bets are off.
- And if you want to comment "if everyone else jumped off a bridge..." it'll just go to spam.