Mar 11

The mystery of iPhone 5

It’s a wacky world when CNN.com is compelled to run the front-page headline, “No iPhone 5 coming in June?”

Even wackier is that the reported delay of iPhone 5’s birthday is really only based on the opinions of two bloggers: John Paczkowski and Jim Dalrymple.

I have respect for both of them, and Dalrymple in particular is known for having reliable sources. However, parts of this story sound fishy to me.

Dalrymple starts his article with this sentence:

Apple closed the door this morning on any speculation that it would announce new hardware at its Worldwide Developers Conference saying it would focus on iOS and Mac OS.

The door-closing to which he refers is actually Apple’s press release describing WWDC 2011. The release contains this quote from Phil Schiller:

“At this year’s conference we are going to unveil the future of iOS and Mac OS. If you are an iOS or Mac OS X software developer, this is the event that you do not want to miss.”

Now, I’ve heard a few doors close in my day — and I’m sorry, but this doesn’t exactly sound like one. It sounds more like Apple inviting software developers to a software developers conference.

True, Apple has announced iPhones and Macs at certain past WWDCs. However, I’ll venture a guess that the official announcement for those events looked very much like the one Apple released yesterday. It’s a software event.

Though I wouldn’t waste too much effort reading between the lines of a press release three months prior to the event, Paczkowski does offer a “delayed iPhone 5” theory that sounds pretty good.

He thinks iPhone 5 may be designed to run on 4G LTE networks, and AT&T’s next-generation network won’t be ready till mid-summer. (Verizon’s is already working.) If this is true, there would be good reason to delay iPhone 5 until July or August, when they can stage a dedicated event to unveil a redesigned iPhone running at top speed with both Verizon and AT&T.

What does not make sense to me is Apple delaying iPhone 5 till the fall. Creative and unpredictable as they may be, Apple is extremely logical about their product scheduling. What they have now works beautifully: iPad in March, iPhone in June, iPod in September, Macs whenever they damn well please.

The reason they do this is that Steve Jobs believes in having one big message at a time. When a product is launched, it becomes the focus of all Apple communications: home page, TV, print, outdoor, Apple Stores. If iPhone 5 is delayed till October, there would be two launches to support at once — iPod and iPhone. I’m not saying it couldn’t happen, but it’s something I’ve never seen Apple do.

On a side note, this is also why I’m doubtful about the recent rumor of an all-new iPad 3 coming for the holiday season. (A) I don’t think Apple wants or needs to update iPad more than once per year, and (B) a new iPad for the holiday would siphon off attention from the new iPods.

Of course, if Apple were dabbling with that seven-inch iPad they claim to have no interest in, it might be a different story. That wouldn’t be an iPad 3, it would simply be a new model of iPad 2 — and it would be one irresistible holiday toy. (Now you know what to get me.)

But back to iPhone 5. I’m not sure when it’s coming, but I’m already concerned that I’ll have to pay a penalty to upgrade. I don’t see any mention of that in Apple’s WWDC press release.

Tags: , ,

  • It is pretty amazing to me that this ran on the CNN home page. I follow Apple rumors pretty closely and these kinds of rumors stand out pretty clearly to me as questionable at best when they go against the marketing strategy Apple has nearly perfected (as you pointed out so well).

    When I see these kinds of rumors hit the major news outlets it makes me wonder how much of the actual news headlines are based on the same speculation or supposed reliability of the source.

    At least CNN isn’t relying on WIRED and Mashable for the real news. Let’s hope.

    – Long time reader, first time commenter

  • I think Apple is doing the right thing by postponing iPhone 5. They should push carriers in general (Verizon included) and AT&T in particular for faster LTE deployments. 2012 June end LTE iPhone 6 will be too late for Apple to get into LTE game because by that time almost all of her competitors will have at least one or may be even two or more LTE phones.