Speculation about Apple’s next-gen iPhone, and specifically about whether Apple will release an iPhone 4S, an iPhone 5, or perhaps both at their iPhone Media Event next week has been pretty wild lately, and some are beginning to doubt whether Apple will release a redesigned iPhone 5, as was first rumored back in April.
A lack of material evidence for the iPhone 5 such as part leaks (which have seemingly been surfacing for an iPhone 4S-like device) seems to be the primary source of doubt. Further, the fact that the iPhone 5 doesn’t seem to have appeared in any retail inventories yet has struck the bell for some people, as such reports have already begun surfacing for the iPhone 4S. I, however, believe that Apple will be unveiling a redesigned iPhone 5 on October 4th, and list several reasons below.
iPhone 5 Cases, Reports, And Analyst Suggestions
Recent reports suggesting that cases reflecting a redesigned iPhone 5 have been appearing in retail inventories, and in fact may have already begun arriving at AT&T retail stores in the US, seem to indicate that Apple may well be planning to release a redesigned iPhone 5.
iPhone 5 cases have also frequently been appearing in China, which some reports suggest is due to Foxconn having apparently lost an iPhone 5 prototype which was sold to a case manufacturer. This alleged leaked prototype may have also been the source of a leaked design document that surfaced in July, supposedly containing measurements relating to the iPhone 5.
Aside from the appearance that iPhone 5 cases are already beginning to surface at wireless carriers, a packaging label posted by jailbreak hacker ih8sn0w on his Twitter account seemingly displays a label for a 64GB iPhone 5, although it is possible that the image may not be genuine, as its source can’t be verified.
Add the list the fact that ThisIsMyNext, who are typically known to have very good sources regarding Apple products, released a report back in April suggesting that Apple would release a redesigned thinner & lighter iPhone 5 with a larger screen, and a tapered teardrop design.
Combining these reports with numerous analyst projections (here, here, here, and here) suggesting that Apple will release two iPhones provides, in my opinion, a fairly compelling case that Apple may indeed launch a redesigned iPhone 5 next month, likely alongside a less expensive iPhone 4S.
Consumer Expectation & Demand
Aside from the appearance of iPhone 5 cases the other factors discussed above, I believe that Apple has another very compelling reason to release something more than a spec-bumped iPhone 4 next month: their consumers.
Considering that Apple’s next-generation iPhone has already been “delayed” in the eyes of many consumers, as new iPhone hardware has typically been released in the summer rather than the fall, many consumers will be expecting Apple to unveil something extraordinarily impressive to account for the later release.
Many consumers are hoping for and even expecting Apple to release a significantly upgraded new iPhone. Research conducted by InMobi suggests that a massive 41% of current mobile phone users would plan on upgrading to a redesigned iPhone 5, whereas only 15% of mobile customers would plan on upgrading if Apple only released an iPhone 4S type upgrade.
Keeping Up With Android (and iOS 5!)
Considering that Google’s Android platform is currently growing faster than iOS, it would be wise of Apple to do everything in their power to not only maintain a competitive edge, but to release a next-gen iPhone that’s not just a bit faster than the iPhone 4 and with a somewhat nicer camera, but a redesigned iPhone 5 that is clearly a huge upgrade with a bigger screen and a new trendy design.
Further, releasing a significant hardware innovation alongside iOS 5, which represents a vast improvement to iOS 4 (and may include incredible features such as a voice-controlled personal assistant and Nuance voice-to-text technology), will highlight and complement the enhancements and improvements that Apple has made to iOS 5.
Wrapping It Up
Personally, I can’t see any reason at all why Apple wouldn’t release a redesigned iPhone 5. It would be more pleasing to their customers, it would give them a more significant edge over Android (especially if they release a less expensive iPhone 4S alongside it, and drastically reduce iPhone 4 pricing), and it would help to emphasize all of the improvements that Apple has made to iOS 5.
Even if releasing the redesigned iPhone 5 is a significantly more expensive prospect than the iPhone 4S, Apple would still be best served to release a redesigned iPhone 5 due to its market impact alone. Besides, with Apple’s mountain of cash reserves, if anyone can afford to take a bit of a ding on a new product, it’s Apple.
As a final note, releasing a dramatically redesigned and completely new iPhone 5 would be a wise move to help break-in Tim Cook as Apple’s new CEO. An impressive new product release would help ease the minds of those who may be worried that Apple won’t keep up their pace of innovation now that Steve Jobs has stepped down as CEO.
For all of these reasons, I believe that Apple will be releasing a redesigned and significantly upgraded iPhone 5 next week. Why? Because in my opinion, it would be unwise not to.