According to a "reliable source", Apple will release the new iPhone 5 in fall 2012. Japanese publication Macotakara initially reported the rumor which, if true, could mean Apple will launch the sixth-generation iPhone in either September or October 2012 – starting a new trend in which iPhone will be released in the fall.
Up until the launch of Apple's iPhone 4S in October 2011, Apple had a tendency to launch their new iPhones during the summer. The original iPhone, iPhone 3GS, and iPhone 4 all launched in June, while the iPhone 3G launched in July. It wasn't until the iPhone 4S launched in October of last year that the pattern was broken.
It wasn't long ago, however, that we were hearing rumors of Apple planning to return to the summer release schedule – with the iPhone 4S October launch being nothing more than one time thing. Back in January, a "reliable source at Foxconn" claimed Apple was gearing up for iPhone 5 production which, following the five-month estimated lead time pointed towards a summer 2012 release.
If these newest rumors from Macotakara are true, then they are actually in line with previous reports of an alleged Best Buy document referencing an October release for the iPhone 5.
With the iPhone 5 fall launch, Apple could be trying to replicate the success from the iPhone 4S fall launch which yielded some impressive Q1 2012 results. In the company's latest earnings call, Apple CEO Tim Cook announced Apple sold a record-breaking 37 million iPhones – partially thanks to the holiday shopping season.
In related news, an iPhone 5 October release could also allow the iPad 3, rumored for a March release, to have the spotlight for quite a few months. In all honesty, a spring release for the iPad 3 and a fall release for the iPhone 5 would effectively allow Apple to dominate the mobile market for a good portion of the year.