A Key Question About Apple's iPhone 5

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Forget pregnancy. Let's talk what to expect when you're expecting an iPhone.

iMore, followed by AllThingsD and Bloomberg, reported that Apple ( AAPL) was planning to release the iPhone5 on Sept. 12, though as in all things Apple, there was still, even in simple declarations of what was to come, total uncertainty.

AllThingsD, for example, wrote that Apple hasn't announced the Sept. 12 event to unveil the new iPhone "but it's definitely planning one." The Web site then adds curiously that Apple was planning an event for the week of Sept. 9 "with Wednesday being the date on which it will likely be held. And while we haven't yet confirmed the event's focus, history suggests it will indeed be the new iPhone."

Uh, OK. So the iPhone5 is definitely coming on Sept. 12, unless, uh, it's not.

Assuming it is, the consensus is for a larger screen and thinner body, design advances to better compete against Samsung. Most of the media can probably be forgiven for focusing on these design changes. To date, they have been what matters in the $220 billion smartphone business.

But Samsung is gaining traction by anticipating Apple's annual new product releases and heading them off with more frequent product innovations.

Assuming the iPhone is released in six weeks, traders need to look at the new features, but also see whether Apple is making any moves toward accelerating its product cycles. Few in the media are focusing on this now, but Bloomberg did a good job of at least mentioning the issue:

"While Apple's strategy has been to release a single smartphone each year, Samsung has become the world's leading handset maker by putting out several devices a year in a range of sizes and prices."

Look for innovations on Sept. 12 ... or whenever. But also look for any indications of a quickened pace in future product introductions.

At the time of publication, the author had no positions in stocks mentioned.

This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.
At the time of publication, Fuchs had no positions in any of the stocks mentioned in this column.

Marek Fuchs was a stockbroker for Shearson Lehman Brothers and a money manager before becoming a journalist who wrote The New York Times' "County Lines" column for six years. He also did back-up beat coverage of The New York Knicks for the paper's Sports section for two seasons and covered other professional and collegiate sports. He has contributed frequently to many of the Times' other sections, including National, Metro, Escapes, Style, Real Estate, Arts & Leisure, Travel, Money & Business, Circuits and the Op-Ed Page.

For his "Business Press Maven" column on how business and finance are covered by the media, Fuchs was named best business journalist critic in the nation by the Talking Biz website at The University of North Carolina School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Fuchs is a frequent speaker on the business media, in venues ranging from National Public Radio to the annual conference of the Society of American Business Editors and Writers.

Fuchs appreciates your feedback; click here to send him an email.

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