Why iPhone 5 Isn’t Coming in June or July

If you don’t know already, for the past four years since the iPhone’s inauguration, Apple has released a handset in the summer (normally June or July). This has been to much fanfare as most evangelists haven’t had their hands on a new one since the previous year. However, it’s only February and one iPhone version has already been launched. Then there’s rumors of the white one coming out next and then the iPhone 5 in the summer?

Would Apple really release three versions of it’s device throughout the first half of the year? Let’s see if we can debunk those rumors!

Let me start by noting that the ideas expressed in this article are pure speculation and of my opinion only. However, hopefully I can bring some interesting points up, because in my mind, they fit together quite nicely.

The Verizon iPhone

The first factor in dissuading a summer release is the recent release of the Verizon iPhone. Now, it’s not just as simple as putting in a new sim card. Verizon is a CDMA-based network meaning that Apple had to redesign part of their phone in order to guarantee compatibility. The question is, why would Apple release a new phone – constraining their supply lines at the same time – only to further constrain their supply lines a few months down the line? Apple has a history of high-demand, low-supply and you’re saying they’ve planned to launch two predictably-successful products in quick succession? I doubt it.

Then you wonder: Wouldn’t summer be an excellent opportunity to capitalize on the existing Verizon handset? Many AT&T iPhone 3GS owners will be coming to the end of their 24-month contract and probably willing to move. The iPhone 4 saw the biggest change in the iPhone’s history so I doubt iPhone 5 will have that many new features outside of spec boosts: why not tout CDMA as the “revolutionary” development?

Plus, there are rumors that iPhone 5 will feature a dual GSM/CDMA chip making us wonder, why are Apple effectively starting fragmentation on it’s devices?

The iPhone hit Verizon on February 3rd. It was their most successful first day of sales ever.

The White iPhone

Let’s have look at another version of the iPhone 4. Back at Steve Jobs’ WWDC keynote in June of 2010, he showed off a white iPhone as well as the now-released black version. Originally, this was to ship with the black one. It has since been delayed time and time again, supposedly due to technical issues with the camera. Now, the carriers over here in the UK have been featuring the white iPhone on their websites in addition to Verizon. Rumors now suggest that it’s coming out in late March.

Again, why would Apple release another version just three months before an update? My opinion (and this is just pure speculation) is that Apple isn’t releasing and iPhone 5, but rather using the white one as an upgrade incentive for those same iPhone 3GS owners coming off their contracts.

And there’s just one more thing. Today we’re announcing the well-anticipated *laughs from crowd* white iPhone, on Verizon *ridiculous amounts of applause*

"Can't touch this..." - Image: cc-by-sa Matthew Yohe

Near-Field Communications

The final reason is one I’m not quite sure about, but could be a contributing factor. Apple is believed to be integrating an NFC chip into it’s iOS devices to facilitate payments over-the-air from your bank account (or even iTunes balance – which would be epic!) to a retailer. Unfortunately, this type of system would require the retail adoption of both Apple’s retail stores and many other companies. Plus, if this was the key feature of the iPhone 5, it would really need to see a larger presence worldwide. This would take some time.

Again, in a fit of pure speculation, I think Apple might release NFC equipment with the iPad 2. This update will have so many new features (camera, possible higher res display, faster internals) that NFC will just be another item of the list. Establishing their interest in NFC (and making everyone know it’s coming in the iPhone 5) will give retailers a hint that they need to start work. No doubt Apple will sell equipment or require “Made for iPhone” branding.

Visa is already testing out NFC capabilities in Europe. Image: cc-by-nc Gawker

4G/LTE Connectivity

On the same line as NFC, Apple could want to implement 4G networking into it’s upcoming update. Like with NFC, Apple’s not the type to launch on half-ready infrastructure so it’s likely they could be waiting until Verizon and AT&T’s network structure is more mature. Again, this is an inevitable feature but one that’s not quite ready to Apple’s standard.

When is the iPhone 5 coming then?

Maybe I’ve persuaded you to my frame of mind. So, when do I think iPhone 5 is coming out? Simply put, I don’t know.

One other potential reason for a delay would be Apple’s focus on the Mac during this year’s WWDC with the release of Lion and the guaranteed slur of demos involved. Sure it’s a One More Thing type of announcement, but Apple might be planning a retail push of software upgrades and new Lion-equipped hardware.

My first theory is that Apple could release it in October or November. Apart from a potential MacBook Air update, there probably isn’t anything blockbuster out then. This would also provide a prime victim for the holiday-buying period.

My second mind suggests no update at all this year. I mean, is Apple really going to keep on releasing iPhones every year until iPhone 20? A release cycle will need to slow down eventually. Maybe the iPhone is at it’s peak feature-wise.

Final Thoughts

Whether you agree with me or not, Apple’s speech at WWDC 2011 will be an interesting one. If Apple does release iPhone 5, I’m a little unsure how many non-decimal upgrades there will be. If it doesn’t, it could signal the end of yearly refreshes. However, I’d probably expect them to migrate to an 18-month refresh cycle instead.

I’m on the fence about making an iPhone purchase just yet. I’m definitely waiting until June to see if Apple does release iPhone 5. If not, I’ll be on Apple’s online store ordering one the same day.

  • http://www.zooadventurer.com Conrad

    Why the iPhone 5 IS Coming in June or July (or earlier)- contract renewal.

    My, and loads of others, contract ends exactly two or one year after the latest (or before) release. If the iPhone hasn’t shown up by then I either keep the last one for another year with some cheap contract, or go somewhere else…

    Not Apples plan I think.

    • http://www.twitter.com/ConnorTurnbull Connor Turnbull

      “Again, why would Apple release another version just three months before an update? My opinion (and this is just pure speculation) is that Apple isn’t releasing and iPhone 5, but rather using the white one as an upgrade incentive for those same iPhone 3GS owners coming off their contracts.”

      That’s in addition to offering the Verizon switch as an alternative.

  • endoftheQ

    iPhone 4GS it is then.

    • Connor Turnbull

      My article was suggesting there was to be no new iPhone release this summer.

      However, if there’s going to be, I’d take a bet and say it wouldnt be called the iPhone 5.

  • Byron haugh

    Surely you don’t get paid for your musings???
    Can’t there be a real journalist out there who can find out what apple is really up to instead of just sharing their unfounded musings???
    Any of us can do that!!!!

    • http://www.twitter.com/ConnorTurnbull Connor Turnbull

      Not sure whether you’re familiar but there’s not really any difference to a blog post here or anywhere else. With Apple, 99% of pre-announcement news is completely speculation.

      And, my whole article consisted of “founded musings”. Please elaborate on your ideas versus shunning mine.

  • Jeff

    Here is Canada (Vancouver) Area there is still a big shortage on iPhone4’s (Fido/Rogers) such that I have been on a waiting list for a iPhone4 since October. It is likely that the iPhone5 will be out before I see my iPhone4 and at this point I think I will likely wait!

  • http://macbiters.com Alessandro

    I completely agree with you. It’s just logic.

  • tom

    “I mean, is Apple really going to keep on releasing iPhones every year until iPhone 20? A release cycle will need to slow down eventually. Maybe the iPhone is at it’s peak feature-wise.”

    You need to think in terms of money. AAPL is making millons and millions. Investors are making millions. There’s competition. Hardware specs go out of date and can’t support app/OS upgrades or new apps. Yes they will keep making new iphones until they have a vision that requires a new type of system. I would say its very very foolish to doubt Steve Jobs’ vision or creativity to think iPhone is at its peak feature wise. Just ask Ronald Wayne!

    • http://www.twitter.com/ConnorTurnbull Connor Turnbull

      I meant peak as in at the moment. Surely, as new technologies develop, the iPhone will follow but i’m sure it wouldn’t do Apple much harm to hold off a bit and slow it’s release cycle.

      What I was trying to get at there was also that Apple will start needing to come up with new names!

  • Joe

    If Apple does not release a new iPhone this summer they will see Android devices to pull further ahead of both the ios software and iphone hardware. A new android phone debuts seemingly every week. Yeah this is in line with the fragmentation argument, but people cannot deny that it also equates to Android hardware that is always current. Apple needs to release ios 5 and a new hardware model this summer to stay on top because a CDMA iphone is no major update, and neither is a white iphone4

    • http://www.twitter.com/ConnorTurnbull Connor Turnbull

      But maybe Apple are holding out so that they will be in line with the future Android phones around the holiday period.

      • James Robinson

        I cannot agree with that statement because iPhones are just like their computer counterparts, you get a million different PC’s a year and one, maybe 2 Mac’s that stand against all those PC’s all year alone. Apple wins in the long run because it’s proprietary where as many company’s make they’re own version of PC’s/Android phones. No matter how many Android’s sell, think of the profits being split between hardware developers vs. Apple eating all the profits which is why it’s one of the single richest American company’s on Earth

  • http://www.johnphillips.me John Phillips

    I highly disagree with this. I think we still see a new iPhone this summer. I don’t think Verizon getting the iPhone is as big a deal for Apple, as it is to Verizon and it’s customers. Think globally. For Apple, they’re just adding another carrier, like they’ve been doing. Every year they release a new iPhone, it’s not immediately available on every carrier worldwide. It normally takes a few months to be fully rolled out. So nothing changes, Verizon is just one of those carriers that gets is down the road, if not immediately. It’s still the same phone.

    • http://www.twitter.com/ConnorTurnbull Connor Turnbull

      I definitely think if Apple goes with Qualcomm’s dual-network chip then we’ll see it in the summer.

  • Raj

    Apple released the first iPhone (iPhone 2G) in overseas markets mere months before the iPhone 3G went on sale in the same countries. So IMHO to think that Apple wouldn’t do that again in the US this time is just plain wrong.

    • http://www.iphone5jailbreaknews.com maasy

      i think iphone 5 will never be released..they just know keeping people wait n wait..

  • http://www.mikekey.com Mike Key

    If Apple does release an iPhone 5 come June, they’ll have a lot of pissed off Verizon customers. And while some point out the way Apple does things overseas, let’s not forget home is where their core business is. ATT is where they started before they showed up on other networks.

    Apple is working to move into China, where CDMA is king.

    I do think with Apple’s Tim Cook talking about a cheaper version their might be an announcement for a cheaper version of the iPhone made and or the possibility of additional models.

    We’ve seen pictures of a larger display popping up online lately. And if their where two or 3 models to chose from, Apple could increase it’s refresh time to 18 months.

  • http://www.cansurmeli.com Can Sürmeli

    I think there might be a new iPhone.

    Same design but an A5 processor with a slightly changed design and GSM/CDMA and unification.

    Anyway. One thing I’m sure is that Apple won’t produce an iPhone like the iPad 2 design that we see on the web.

    Also the big bomb of this years WWDC will be iOS 5. I’m sure that it will change a lot.

  • http://www.google.com lucky

    monther fucker verizon

  • http://www.esetnod32usernameandpassword.org sanjeev

    because apple is dead now..android is rising

  • http://www.esetnod32usernameandpassword.org anjali

    i hope this wont repeat in next reelase of iPhone

  • http://nod32usernamepasswordzone.blogspot.com Nod32 username password

    Thanks dude

  • https://www.facebook.com/MrKingKong James Robinson

    So, I have a few ideas myself as to why there will definitely be a new iPhone this year.

    1) While the 4s came out a year after the 4, one has to question “WHY?” They could have just as easily just waited until this summer and released a new iPhone altogether which brings me to my next point.

    2) The 4s is NOT a new model phone, it’s an upgraded 4 or “What the iPhone 4 was supposed to ship as” so look at the iPhone 4s as “The Official iPhone 4” just as the 3GS was actually what the 3G was supposed to be, had Apple had the time and resources there would have never been the 3GS or 4S because the 3G and 4 would have been the “complete” version. I believe the 3GS and 4S where created due to bad timing the first time around, both of those phones (3G/4) released when better tech was rolling out the wood work and put those phones at a disadvantage tech wise.

    3) It has been 2 years since the iPhone 4/4s model released so it’s time for a new model iPhone and this year would be perfect for a summer release. Again, one can argue that the 4s hasn’t been out a year, but it’s design has been out well over 2 years.