AT&T VP points to October launch for iPhone 5

While iPhone rumours come and iPhone rumours go, this latest snippet comes from a source you'd expect to be trustworthy: a high-up at US telecommunications giant AT&T, who has warned his staff to be ready for a launch in October.

According to an unnamed 'high-level source' speaking to BGR, an equally unnamed AT&T vice president has told his minions that Apple's next wonderphone will be launching in October, telling managers that they should "expect things to get really, really busy in the next 35-50 days."

The October launch time scale fits with the claims that Apple will be announcing the device at an event late next month, and also reveals another possible tidbit: if it does launch in October, it will be doing so without the next-generation A6 processor.

Apple's A-series of chips, based on designs from British low-power processing specialist ARM and previously manufactured by Samsung until the two companies had a rather serious falling out, power the company's smartphone and tablet products. Previous products used the A4 chip, while the iPad 2 uses the dual-core A5 for more impressive performance.

The A6, the next-generation chip in the A-series line-up and generally considered to be a quad-core part, is undergoing sampling at TSMC's fabs now, but isn't due to be ready until 2012 at the earliest - meaning that if the iPhone 5 launches in October, it will be doing so on the last-generation A5 processor.

That's not a complete disaster: while the A5 is little more than two A4 chips stuck together, it offers far better multi-tasking performance compared to the A4 on which the iPhone 4 is based. It would also bring the iPhone and the iPad to a performance parity level - at least, until the iPad 3 is launched in 2012 with a quad-core A6 chip in it.

Surprisingly enough, neither Apple nor AT&T wanted to comment on this story. Still, October's not too long to wait to see if this rumour has legs.