Apple has done a good job of keeping to schedule; not only with their iPhone lineage, but also their laptops and computers, iPod line-up, and iPad family. They’ve done such a good job of it, in fact, that people expect there to be a new Apple-branded product on the market at specific times in the year, even if they don’t consciously know the dates it’s supposed to happen. In the summer we’ve got a new iPhone, and in the fall we’re subject to a new iPod refresh. Earlier in the year now, we’ve got a new tablet to expect. But new reports suggest that Apple’s bucking the norm this year, and the new iPhone 5 won’t be seeing the light of day until September. Attached to that rumor, is the belief that the iPhone 6 will be released in the early part of 2012 – and that’s not a good thing.
Apple’s yearly refresh rate may make it hard for some people to justify buying one of their products, but based on the numbers that Apple’s projects at each quarterly earnings call, the majority don’t mind. In fact, it’s probably safe to assume that people have grown accustomed to this style of product release, and when they’re buying that new iPhone, they know that they’ll probably be buying the next version of it when it comes out a year later. That is, as long as the next version is worth buying.
We saw a pretty big leap forward in development between the original iPhone and the iPhone 3G. We didn’t see that big of a boost between the 3G and the 3GS. The succession of the iPhone 4 saw another significant increase in technical specifications from the 3GS, and now it seems that, based on repeated reports, that Apple is continuing with this trend. Reportedly, the iPhone 5 will be a “minor” update, and will keep plenty of the aesthetics and design elements of the iPhone 4, but pack better specs under the hood. Specifically, there’s going to be the same processor in the iPhone 5 that’s present in the iPad 2.
With that in mind, logic dictates that the iPhone 6 will be the significant upgrade. That will be the device that people are clamoring for all over again. While the white iPhone 4 and the iPhone 5 are stop-gaps. But, if Apple plans on releasing the iPhone 5 and white iPhone 4 around the end of 2011, then they should not launch the iPhone 6 in the early part of 2012. That’s too soon. AT&T has been kind in letting customers upgrade to the newest version of the iPhone, despite signing two-year contracts, but I don’t see them being so lenient if the separation is only a handful of months. Of course, if Apple pushes hard enough, I imagine anything is possible.
The gap between the summer launch and when the iPhone 5 is rumored to be released isn’t that big, so I don’t imagine that many people will jump ship entirely due to the hold-up. However, if just before – or more specifically, right after -- the launch of the iPhone 5 there’s already reports that the iPhone 6 is coming right around the corner, people will be upset. Apple should hold off on the launch of the iPhone 6 until July of 2012, and then go back to the yearly refresh rate after that.
Let me know what you think of Apple’s adjusted release schedule. Are you going to drop the iPhone for something else if the iPhone 5 isn’t showcased soon? Or will you stay on board, waiting for the iPhone 6? Let me know in the comments below.