Yesterday, @evleaks noted that the Nokia Lumia 1020 with its 41 MP camera is reaching 'end of life' status on September 14, effectively ending the renown camera-phone's run. However, we inquired with some of our sources and learned October 15 as the date Microsoft and their Stores are using for sending back and ending sales of the Lumia 1020. One-month difference though does not change the fact that the Lumia 1020 is indeed reaching its finish.
What EOL means
End of life (EOL) is a common term used in the cellular phone business, and it simply means that the carrier or manufacturer is no longer going to sell that phone after the determined date. It does not, however, necessarily mean that the carrier or manufacturer is stopping support for OS and firmware updates, although it could.
When it comes to the Lumia 1020, at least on AT&T and other carriers, Lumia Cyan and the Windows Phone 8.1 OS are very likely still to be part of the general release schedule, especially considering this EOL is coming after the big 8.1-update. Does it mean the Lumia 1020 is getting Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1? It is too early to tell, though we would put it as likely due to that phone being somewhat high profile.
Why is it EOL?
Devices often come to end of life for two reasons, including (1) they are no longer selling enough to justify continued stock or (2) there is a newer model coming out to replace it.
Those two scenarios above though are independent of each other, so this EOL for the Lumia 1020 does not necessarily mean a 'Lumia 1025' or 'Lumia 1030' is coming out anytime soon. Indeed, so far we have not heard any firm rumors suggesting that is the case. For example, T-Mobile recently EOL'd the Lumia 925 presumably due to lagging sales, and there is no apparent replacement for that phone e.g. the Lumia 930.
Coming back to the Lumia 1020, there is just too little information at this time to infer that this means a newer device is on the horizon though certainly anything is plausible. We do know that Microsoft is supposed to release a new high-end flagship later this year during the holiday time frame (i.e. November and onward) and trimming down stock a month prior does fit nicely into the scenario.
SIM unlocked Lumia 1020 going to Microsoft Stores
In a related bit of news, and interestingly timed, we are learning that Microsoft Stores are taking stock later this month of black Lumia 1020s that are carrier unlocked. It is unclear what bands the phone can work on, though we assume they may overlap with US LTE bands, similar to the unlocked Lumia 1520.3 variant that has T-Mobile and AT&T LTE support. So while the AT&T version may ride off into the sunset, the Lumia 1020 does have some life left.