Now that the iPad 2 has been revealed, rumors and chatter shift to the iPhone and iOS 5. By this time last year, we were about to get a glimpse at iOS 4, which was set to be released alongside the iPhone 4 – but it appears this year may be slightly different…and we think it makes perfect sense.

Earlier this year, Apple unveiled the iPhone 4 for Verizon; not entirely unexpected, but it led to questions about Apple’s typical June refresh. If I’m a Verizon customer with my new iPhone, I wouldn’t be terribly happy if come less than six months later, a newer, better phone is released. So what is Apple to do? If history has anything to say about it, the next iPhone will not be a major overhaul; so where does this leave us in terms of a new product cycle?

Earlier this week we saw the announcement of WWDC, Apple’s Developer Conference and a key element is apparent – “Come see the future of iOS and Mac OS X”. We know that the next version of Mac OS X (Lion) is borrowing some of its UI from iOS, so it makes sense that an event unveiling the next iOS would happen alongside the next version of Mac OS X. BUT, in years past when Apple unveiles its latest operating system for mobile, it’s usually 3 months before they release their newest iPhone. Would Apple release or announce a new iPhone with the same Operating System? Maybe, but not likely.

Here’s how I see things unfolding in the next 12 months.

June 2011 – Apple unveils iOS 5.0 with great new features, tight cloud integration, enhanced voice-based services (courtesy of their Siri acquisition) and Maps enhancements tying in to more location-aware apps. This version will immediately be available for Developers to play and develop for, as it will be announced at WWDC.

September 2011 – Apple releases the iPhone 5 alongside iOS 5. Legacy iPhone customers won’t bee too upset about a 3 month delay, and Verizon iPhone users will have had the better part of 9-months alone-time with their VZ iPhone 4. The key here is that the new iPhone will be cross compatible; a single iPhone 5 that works on either Verizon’s CDMA network or the rest of the world’s GSM network. This allows Apple to pump out more phones without having to worry about individual supply demands; plus it lands just in time for the Holiday rush.

March 2012 – Apple stays on course for the launch of the next iPad, the iPad 3.

And there you have Apple’s new product cycle which satisfies legacy AT&T users, does not tick-off Verizon users and gives ample breathing room for Apple to focus marketing and product launches accordingly.

What do you think?

 

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