Apple iOS 5 reportedly about to go golden

Golden Master version of iOS 5 could mean next iPhone won't be far behind

Apple reportedly will send the Golden Master version of its iOS 5 mobile operating system to manufacturing partners around the last week of September, and that means a new iPhone could be on the way shortly thereafter.

Reports of the finalized iOS 5 edition come from the MacRumors website, which was fed a research note by industry analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of Concord Securities.

"Perhaps more interestingly [than the iOS 5 Golden Master shipping], Kuo specifically tells us that he has seen no evidence of the rumored redesigned 'iPhone 5' in the supply chain. Instead, his sources point to the "N94" iPhone that has been popularly referred to as the 'iPhone 4S' as the sole new iPhone model set to ship, with Apple planning for 30 million units through the end of the year," according to the website.

BACKGROUND: iPhone 5 rumor roundup for the week ending Sept. 9

Apple unveiled iOS 5 in June at its Worldwide Developers Conference, outlining 200 new features and 1,500 APIs.  Since then, Apple has issued seven beta versions, about the max it historically has issued before coming out with the final edition.

Separately, Apple's Mac operating system isn't exactly slouching. The latest numbers from market watcher NPD Group show that Apple is on pace to have its best quarter ever in terms of Mac sales, fueled by availability of the Mac OS X Lion software.   Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster, citing NPD research, estimates Apple will sell about 4.5 million Macs this quarter, bettering its record of 4.1 million in a quarter during 2010's year-end holiday season.

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