Apple will very soon release a new iPhone model. This really isn’t in doubt. The questions are simply “What will the phone’s features be?” and “When exactly will it be available in the US?” If you want a third question, it would be “Which carriers will have the iPhone in the US?” since the iPhone is already on AT&T and Verizon, and could easily be made available on T-Mobile and/or Sprint.
In my earlier blog on the subject (Bobbing for Apple iPhones, April 13, 2011), I discussed reasons why Apple wouldn’t stay true to form and release an iPhone in June. Only Apple knows which if any of those reasons might account for the decision to delay, but I’m inclined to believe that a combination of them were in play. But a new iPhone this fall is a sure thing.
While the new phone may have a shape and size very similar to today's iPhone 4 (remember how the iPhone 3GS looked just like the iPhone 3G?), it would be more Apple's style to have a slick new design developed by Apple's world-renowned designer, Jony Ive.
I predict a late September announcement of the new phone, including its name (Probably iPhone 5 but perhaps something like iPhone 4S or iPhone 4W), its features, and its availability dates. I’ll predict US availability on or about October 14th and simultaneous launch in several European and Asia-Pacific countries on that same date, with other countries to follow in subsequent weeks.
I believe that Apple will want to ramp up demand (and supply) in the final quarter of the calendar year to make the new iPhone the must-have gadget of late 2011.
The rumor of a lost iPhone 5 prototype in a bar was quickly followed by some reports of a possible hoax. Beyond that, it seems way too deja vu to me. If I'm being really suspicious, I say Apple is fanning those flames (and maybe even started the fire) in the interest of keeping iPhone interest as high as possible at all times.
Another rumor is the introduction of a new, low-end iPhone. My guess is that the current iPhone 4 could become the new low-cost iPhone, the way the iPhone 3GS fills that position today. Rumors of a new cheaper and/or smaller iPhone to fill that slot don’t seem believable to me.
Get ready to stand in line
The later than usual launch (remember, previous iPhones launched in early summer) might mean that there are a larger number of upgrade-eligible users for the new iPhone, which will only increase the early lines at Apple stores and make online ordering that much more busy and difficult. But by the end-of-year holidays, Apple will surely have successfully delivered huge numbers of new iPhones.
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