Apple’s usual summer iPhone jamboree, which in the past two years has tied with its WWDC conference, looks all set to be pushed back until September. Insiders claim that the showcase will focus solely on iOS 5 and Mac OS X Lion, with the iPhone 5 instead being unleashed at the Cupertino company’s September press event, usually reserved for iPod updates. Here’s our Top 10 reasons why pushing the iPhone back makes sense.
1 Build hype over the summer
Apple’s acutely aware of the power of the rumour mill. iPhone 5 teases and leaks have already been swirling around the web for months, but by holding back on its release by just a few short months it can be sure that tech watchers and bloggers will work themselves into a frenzy. And that’ll feed into plenty of mainstream media coverage too.
2 Tie in with the release of iOS 5
iOS 5 is set to be touted at WWDC this year, rather than at a dedicated event in April, as was the case in 2009 and 2010 with iOS 3 and iOS 4. There’s no point revealing it and then releasing a phone using the old iOS 4 software. It's just not Apple’s way and is something it’s bashed BlackBerry and Nokia for in the past. iOS 5 and iPhone 5 will be unleashed at the same time.
3 Let Apple assess competition
Android Ice Cream is likely to be trailed heavily at this year’s Google I/O event in May. There’ll then be a slew of new phones using the OS unveiled over the summer. Apple will want to assess the new OS and new hardware. Plus, it won’t want any other phones to get in its way.
4 Unify releases iPhone releases with the iPad
Take this with a hefty pinch of salt, but Apple is rumoured to be releasing yet another iPad in the autumn. If that is the case, it’ll have an unstoppable pair of gadgets if it releases the iPhone 5 at the same time.
5 Clear run to Christmas
Christmas is a vital period for Apple. And while its last quarterly results proved that it motors whenever it releases products, unleashing the iPhone 5 just as the rush for gifts starts means it’ll be a must-have. A pared-down iPhone nano would be a best-seller too. Just imagine the sales figures.
6 Tie in with the new MobileMe
The cloud-based MobileMe is said to be intrinsically linked to iOS 5 and is likely to be shoved out for public consumption in September. Putting the iPhone 5 out at the same time, perhaps with free subscriptions for new owners, will help it gain mindshare quickly and make the iPhone 5 even more desirable.
7 It’ll gazump IFA
IFA is one of the tech industry’s biggest shows and kicks off in Berlin at the beginning of September every year. It’s where the Galaxy Tab was first seen last year and will doubtless be used to show off Apple-battling kit this year. An Apple event, touting the iPhone 5, would undermine much of the work by its main rivals.
8 Deflect from the iPod’s decline
The iPod is always updated in September. But the music device, while still selling big, is in decline. Putting out the iPhone 5 at the same time as some re-jigged iPods would help Apple move away from its original best-selling portable brand and show how the iPhone is now its leading light.
9 Get an antenna fix perfected
There must be no antenna woes with the iPhone 5. By pushing the iPhone 5 back, Apple has plenty of time to test and trial the new handset and ensure that it doesn’t suffer from the same problems as its predecessor.
10 See how NFC and mobile wallets pan out
Google’s mobile wallet plans are gathering pace already. Near Field Communication (NFC) tech is widely expected to be a part of the iPhone 5, but Apple will be watching closely to ensure the standard is unified and that it can be easily implemented before making a final call. A few months delay will definitely help in this case.