Wednesday, April 27, 2011

iPhone Really Coming In The Fall? Maybe (So, I'm Wrong) And It Might Be Good For Apple

There are a lot of expectations that Apple will release the next iPhone in the fall rather than the summer.  It truly defies what Apple has done in the past.  I myself have argued that Apple will stick with its annual update.  Now, we are a week from May and it doesn't look like Apple will be holding its annual April event to introduce the next iOS  So does this mean that I'm wrong and that we are looking a later date for the next iPhone release?  

Well, I came across this post from TUAW that articulated three points support the fall iPhone assertion.  I'm not afraid to admit that I'm wrong.  I'm not wrong...yet.

Three Reasons Apple Will Release the iPhone In The Fall:

First, the two iPhone models just got released.  What?!  That's right.  The CDMA iPhone was just released by Apple and Verizon in February.  It's now late April, 2.5 months ago.  And as you know, Apple sold 2.2 million of them CDMA models in about six weeks.  Not bad and more is likely to come as more folks get off the two-year contract train with each passing week.  

And then there's the new white iPhone that will go on sale tomorrow, 4/28/11.  How many more million of the white iPhone models will AT&T and Verizon, with a combined customer base of about 180 million users, sell?  Lots.  

With the CDMA iPhone being on the market for four months and the white models out two months when the WWDC comes around in June, it's like we're not going to see a new iPhone model for a while.  

The second reason the post brought up is back-to-school and synconizing with the rest of the iOS line-up, the iPod touch for the fall.  All of that makes sense.  And as a matter of fact, I think Apple might be onto something with respects to back to school.  Traditionally, Apple has a back-to-school program where a student can get a free iPod with the purchase of a Mac.  Now consider this.  You're Apple.  You want to hurt your competitors, Microsoft, Samsung, HTC, LG, RIM, and HP, how would you do it further?

How about back-to-school program that includes iPhones.  Buy a Mac and get a free iPhone 3GS or $100 off an iPhone 4.  Heck, Apple might even be able to give the iPhone 4s for free.  

The third point they made is iOS update.  Provide developers at a "developer" conference beta version of the next iOS and release it in the fall, just in time for the traditional fall fresh that is reserved for the iPod.  Now, Apple can release the iPhone along with everything else.

I'll add a fourth reason.  Apple just sold nearly 19 million iPhones.  That's a lot of iPhones.  And by pushing the next iPhone back to a later date or at least put into the mind of anyone who wants an iPhone but might put it off because Apple won't to deal with a slowed iPhone demand due to anticipation of a new release.

All of those points above make a lot of sense.  However, if Apple should move the iPhone release beyond June, it will not make sense to do it along side the iPod touch update.  The iPhone and iPod touch separately cater to two different demographics.  Nevertheless, there is an overlap.  And give these hundreds of thousands, potentially millions of iOS customers the choice between the more expensive iPhone or more valued iPod touch with the same specs, they may go with the touch.  I happen to fall into this segment.  

If anything, Apple might release the iOS 5 to developers in June at the WWDC and then release the iPhone in August, six to eight weeks before the next iPod touch release.  

So, what do you think?  By August, the black GSM will be 14 months old, the CDMA six months old, and the white models four to five months old.  Perfect time for an update.  Still, June release is not out of the question yet.  

More at TUAW.

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