News Analysis: Apple decided against announcing the iPhone 5 at the Worldwide Developers Conference, and there are a number of good reasons for that. While no doubt many iPhone fans were disappointed, the decision makes sense from a market perspective.
Prior to Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference keynote, which took place in San Francisco June 6, rumors suggested the company would unveil the iPhone 5. They reasoned that Apple has typically used the conference to unveil a new iPhone, and this year would be no different. At the 2010 WWDC, for example, Apple showed off the iPhone 4.
But this time around, the company didn't announce a new iPhone
. Instead, it stayed on message, talking about Mac OS X "Lion," its upcoming desktop operating system, as well as the update to its mobile operating system, iOS 5. In addition, Apple unveiled the long-awaited iCloud, a cloud-based service that allows iOS, Mac and PC users to store content on the Web and sync it across their many devices. Apple's event was a decidedly software-only affair.
As expected, many fans were disappointed that Apple didn't discuss the iPhone 5 at the event. But there are many good reasons for that.
Read on to find out what those reasons are:
1. The Verizon issue
After a long wait, Apple launched its iPhone on Verizon's network earlier this year. That could be one of the main reasons the company balked at announcing the iPhone 5 at WWDC. Apple's smartphone has been on store shelves at Verizon for just a few months. To release a new iPhone now would potentially hurt Verizon's current sales and negatively impact Apple's development cycle. The smart move would be to release a Verizon and AT&T version of the iPhone 5 early next year when consumers have had their current devices for a relatively long time, and they'll be more willing to opt for Apple's latest device
2. The white iPhone was just released
Though Apple announced the white iPhone at last year's WWDC, the device didn't finally hit store shelves until April. By launching a new iPhone 5 now, Apple would potentially cause trouble with those customers who bought the white iPhone believing the company wouldn't offer a new smartphone so soon after a launch. Apple needs to give the white iPhone some time to appeal to consumers; it can't cut it off just as it gets going.
3. Sales are still strong
When companies release new products, they do it for one basic reason: to drum up demand. For now, demand for Apple's iPhone is quite high, and the company's sales figures aren't slowing down at all. During its fiscal second quarter, which it announced in April, Apple said that it sold 18.65 million iPhones, tallying a huge 113 percent unit-sales growth rate, compared with the same quarter in the prior year. If sales were slowing, Apple would have launched a new iPhone 5 at WWDC. But sales aren't slowing, and Apple has the luxury of being able to wait.
4. The competition isn't forcing its hand
Though Android continues to steal market share in the operating system market, no single Android, Windows Phone 7 or BlackBerry smartphone is beating Apple's iPhone in sales. The reason for that is simple: They don't offer the same features or consumer appeal as Apple's alternative. Realizing that, Apple isn't forced to release a new iPhone just yet. Until Apple finds a competitor that delivers something better than what it offers, there's no reason to show off the iPhone 5.