Apple May Delay iPhone 5, iOS 5: Reports

Apple may delay both the iPhone 5 and iOS 5 until later in 2011, according to reports. That would shake up Apple's usual iPhone and iOS release schedule.

Apple may delay the release of the next iPhone, according to online rumors, but developers and media could nonetheless have their first glimpse of the next iOS at this year's Worldwide Developers Conference, set for June 6-10 in San Francisco.

"At this year's conference, we are going to unveil the future of iOS and Mac OS," Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide product marketing, wrote in a March 28 statement posted on Apple's corporate Website. "If you are an iOS or Mac OS X software developer, this is the event that you do not want to miss."

But according to Macotakra, a Japanese blog devoted to everything Mac, itself citing "sources in China," the iPhone 5 won't make its debut until the fourth quarter of 2011. While a Google Translation of the Website is somewhat difficult to read, grammatically, other online sources seem in agreement that Apple hasn't yet geared up the necessary parts-ordering for the next iPhone, which in turn suggests a delay until later in the year.

Other pundits also seem in agreement that Apple won't debut any hardware at WWDC. "Apple's apparent focus on software in its WWDC announcement backs up what my own sources are saying about the annual conference," The Loop's Jim Dalrymple wrote in a March 28 posting. "That is, expect a software show in 2011, not a hardware event."

For months, rumors have circulated about what Apple intends to do with the massive server facility it spent most of 2010 building in North Carolina. The possibility exists that the company could leverage its newfound cloud capacity in the next version of iOS, offering services such as online storage for music and other media.

Yet unnamed sources suggested to TechCrunch that iOS 5, the next iteration, could be delayed until fall. Combined with a later iPhone 5 launch, this would significantly alter Apple's usual habit of previewing and releasing new smartphone hardware and software in the spring-to-summer timeframe.

"The new iOS will be heavily built around the cloud, and we could see several new services launch from Apple that take advantage of this," read TechCrunch's March 26 report. "But much of the cloud stuff will be talked about first at WWDC, Apple's developer event which will take place in June."

Meanwhile, Apple continues to tweak its iOS 4, including an iOS 4.3.1 update with a handful of security and maintenance updates. The mobile operating system represents the bedrock of Apple's burgeoning mobile franchise, which includes the bestselling iPad in addition to the iPhone and the iPod.