At the iPhone event on Oct. 4, Apple was expected to show off two new iPhones-the iPhone 4S and the iPhone 5. But in a move that surprised many folks around the globe, Apple only announced the iPhone 4S, seemingly leaving the iPhone 5 for another day.
Although the iPhone 4S is a fine upgrade in its own right, launching with a better antenna and improved camera, among other features, the disappointment around the technology community is palpable. There was an inordinate amount of hype heading into Apple's event and for the first time in a long time, the iPhone maker did not deliver on that.
That has made some observers wonder if a lot of that disappointment would have been avoided if Apple had simply called the iPhone 4S the iPhone 5. Others say that since the device is a nominal upgrade, people would have been disappointed no matter what Apple called it. Others say that by calling the iPhone 4S the iPhone 5, Apple could have made the device seem more important, and thus quelled some unrest.
Either way, Apple decided on the iPhone 4S. At least for now, the iPhone 5 is a no-show.
Read on to find out why Apple decided to leave the iPhone 5 announcement for another day:
1. LTE isn't ready
According to the latest reports, Apple wants to support Long-Term Evolution (LTE) in the iPhone 5. Right now, the company contends that LTE just isn't ready for prime time. It's probably right. Although carriers are all trying to invest more in the technology, right now it looks like none of their networks will be able to handle the traffic load that the iPhone 5 would put on it. For now, it's best if Apple doesn't support LTE, and keeps the iPhone 5 on the shelf until carriers can catch up.
2. Rumors suggest it's a major upgrade
According to all the reports surrounding the iPhone 5 that came out both before and after Apple's Oct. 4 event, the device is supposed to be a major upgrade over the iPhone 4. While that might excite some customers, they need to realize that major upgrades usually have significant feature and technology enhancements. It can take years to perfect the features and get the cost down to where it is profitable to get such devices on store shelves. Simply put, maybe Apple's major upgrade just wasn't where it needed to be to hit store shelves this year.
3. It didn't have to
Looking at Apple's iPhone sales over the last several quarters and comparing those to the competition it faces in the mobile space, it's hard to see any reason Apple would have been required to release a major upgrade right now, anyway. During its last-reported quarter, Apple sold over 20 million iPhones. And with the iPhone 4S in tow, it will likely sell even more this quarter. Realizing that, perhaps the iPhone 5 isn't as necessary as some think.
4. Apple likes to wait to see what competitors show
Apple likes to set the benchmark in the mobile space, not match it. It appears that Apple wants to wait for its top competitors, including Motorola Mobility and Samsung, to show off their handsets for next year before it introduces the iPhone 5. It makes some sense. If Apple can see what others bring to their products, it will have time to update the iPhone 5 and deliver whatever kind of functionality it must to stay ahead.