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Monday, February 20, 2012, 09:21 am PT (12:21 pm ET)

Apple's sixth-gen iPhone expected to debut in September or October of 2012

Apple's sixth-generation iPhone will debut about a year after the launch of the iPhone 4S, maintaining a fall introduction, according to a new report.

Citing a "reliable source," Japanese blog Macotakara reported on Monday that Apple's next iPhone is expected to debut in September or October of this year. It was said it appears that Apple plans to maintain this cycle "for years."

That would place the launch of the next iPhone about one year after the iPhone 4S debuted. Apple launched its current flagship iPhone in October of 2011.

The fall launch for the iPhone 4S was uncharacteristic for Apple, which in years past had launched new iPhone models in the months of June or July. But at last year's Worldwide Developers Conference in June, Apple chose not to introduce a new iPhone.

Last year's iPhone event essentially took the place of Apple's annual iPod event, which, in previous years, was held ahead of the holiday shopping season. But with the iPod representing a much smaller part of Apple's business, last year its portable music player lineup went relatively untouched, aside from a new white version of the iPod touch.

Purported iPhone 5 cases


The launch of a new iPhone during the holiday shopping season paid off in a big way for Apple, which saw record sales of 37 million iPhones during its December quarter.

Though it would be unusual for Apple to release an entirely new iPhone model less than a year after debuting its last update, there have been various rumors that Apple planned to switch back to a June introduction in 2012. But Monday's report, if accurate, would indicate that Apple is content with a fall iPhone release schedule for 2012 and beyond.