Another bit of evidence emerged this week that the next iPhone will be released in June, as Boy Genius announced that he's "confirmed with multiple AT&T sources that the carrier has now put a block on employees taking vacations in June." The ban is significant, because the only other times they've occurred at the carrier's retail outlets has been for previous iPhone launches.
Though it's been obscured by the iPad hype, anticipation for the fourth-generation iPhone has been building for some time. Observers expect a power boost - possibly from Apple's new A4 system-on-a-chip - and hopes remain high that a CDMA-capable model will be released that will be able to operate on Verizon's network in the US. A new model this summer is virtually a lock, as Apple has refreshed the iPhone around the same time every year since it was introduced on June 29, 2007, with the 3G arriving on July 11, 2008 and the 3GS on June 19, 2009. Our own Michael Essany broke the news (later picked up by numerous other sites) that Apple had reserved the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts for an event on June 22, 2010. The reservation of the hall where the iPad was announced, on a date which fits perfectly into the pattern, makes for pretty strong circumstantial evidence that this will be the day we see the fourth-generation iPhone (which increasing reports suggest will be named the iPhone HD).
AT&T first told its employees that they couldn't take vacations from June 15 to July 15, 2008 when the iPhone 3G was released. Similarly, an employee "vacation block" was imposed last year around the time of the 3GS launch. Verizon store employees, however, are apparently free to enjoy sun and fun this summer, so we'll have to see if Steve Jobs announces "one more thing" on June 22.