9to5Mac reports that Apple may release the iPhone 5 on October 4. The speculation is derived from leaked documents revealing a new tier of devices that will be created in AT&T's phone database on that date. The news follows reports that the phone is expected to be revealed in September along with a new iPod Touch sporting 3G connectivity and a cheaper, low-end iPhone 5 model.
According to the AT&T documents, the new tier will not only see a $2/month increase in insurance costs, but will feature Apple's entire iPhone family. "All customers enrolling in MI must be advised of the pending MRC (monthly recurring charge) increase from $4.99 to $6.99," reads an AT&T document. "This occurs on October 4, 2011, in conjunction with a new tier, Device Tier 3, that is $199. iPhone and other devices will move to this tier on October 4, 2011."
This is where the whole "iPhone 5 in October" theory comes into play, as the description specifically mentions the iPhone and no other devices. Given all the talk that the next-generation iPhone will make its debut in September, the launch of this new tier in the first week of October doesn't seem all that coincidental. Then again, the $199 spectrum covers quite a few smartphones in AT&T's arsenal, so it's highly possible that there's nothing more to the story than a simple restructuring of AT&T's pricier smartphones and a MRC hike.
"This new MRC will impact new and existing MI customers going forward," the documents add in refernce to the new monthly charge. "These customers will be notified of the changes via US mail beginning July 20, 2011, through August 20, 2011. note that customers enrolled in or enrolling in MPP will not experience a price increase. The $9.99 MRC will remain the same, bringing an even greater value proposition and reason to offer the bundle."
Prior reports indicate that the iPhone will be covered by the carrier's standard insurance rather than the pricier premium offering. As the documents state, AT&T customers will be required to shell out an extra two bucks a month starting October 4. The premium insurance bundle will reportedly stay the same.
The iPhone 5 is one of the mobile industry's biggest mysteries at this point, with numerous reports trying to pinpoint its hardware specs and likely launch date. Current rumors point to a September reveal during the iPod's typical yearly showing; others rumors have stated a November date. Some analysts are still speculating that the iPhone 5 won't rear its head until June 2012, sticking to Apple's typical June to June schedule even though Apple had nothing to reveal this year.
As always, stay tuned.