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Monday, March 28, 2011, 08:20 am PT (11:20 am ET)

Apple not yet aligning iPhone 5 part suppliers, handset may miss fiscal 2011

Rather than issue a new fifth-generation iPhone this summer as usual, Apple may instead release an iPhone 5 this October or even later, slipping into the company's 2012 fiscal year.

Citing sources in the Chinese supply chain, Macotakara.jp reported Monday (via Google Translate) that Apple is not yet ordering components for its fifth-generation iPhone. The anticipated device is also not expected to contribute to Apple's fiscal 2011.

Apple's fiscal year 2011 concludes on Sept. 24, 2011. If the iPhone 5 were to in fact not contribute to the company's fiscal 2011 bottom line, the new handset would arrive after Sept. 24, making it a late September or early October launch at the earliest.

Monday's report indicated that Apple plans to ship the new iPhone in the "first half" of fiscal 2012. However, it is unlikely that Apple would wait until calendar 2012 to release the iPhone 5 and miss out on the strong holiday buying season.

The report said that Apple, for now, is focused on acquiring new customers for its CDMA handset, which launched in February on the Verizon network in the U.S. The CDMA iPhone 4 uses a different wireless radio than the original GSM-based model, and opens opportunities for new carrier partners for Apple.

Finally, the report also made mention of the rumored aluminum back for the iPhone 5, replacing the existing glass back of the iPhone 4. It appears Apple has toyed with the idea, but has not yet committed to making a radical design change with the next-generation handset.

In February, a separate rumor from overseas revealed that Apple had allegedly built three prototype models for its anticipated iPhone 5, and one of them has a "sliding cover" that conceals a physical keyboard. Another prototype reportedly built by Apple looks largely like the iPhone 4, but has longer battery life and a superior camera.

Monday's overseas reports corroborates a new rumor that Apple will not introduce any new hardware at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference, scheduled to kick off June 6. In years past, Apple has used WWDC to debut its next iPhone.