updated 03:01 pm EDT, Fri August 30, 2013
Hints at launch windows for iOS 7, new iPhones
AppleCare support workers have been barred from taking vacations between September 15 and 28, according to an internal document seen by AppleInsider. The timing is consistent with when major US carriers have been blocking vacations, presumably in preparation for an iPhone launch. Apple, however, has established a much larger blackout period, which could indicate that iOS 7 will be released as soon as the 15th.
Staff at AppleCare are already in training for iOS 7, and expected to be hit with an unusually large number of support tickets when the firmware launches. The OS sports a radically-different look from its predecessor, and there are new features like AirDrop, Control Center, and Activation Lock for iOS device owners to get used to. Still more upgrades could be announced at Apple's unconfirmed-but-likely September 10 press event, since some of them may be too intimately tied to new hardware to expose early.
In any case, iOS 7 should reach the public before new phones. Apple once attempted to launch iOS and iPhone updates simultaneously, but the combined activation and download traffic clogged servers.