With it looking unlikely that Apple will be bringing the iPhone 5 to WWDC 2011 in early June, speculation has returned to circling how the company’s hardware plans may shape up for the rest of the year. Rather than a June launch, there are suggestions that Apple will release the white iPhone 4 later in the spring and use that to prolong the handset’s shelf-life until a Q4 2011 refresh. That later date might allow for the inclusion of 4G LTE connectivity, in an attempt to better take on what’s expected to be a growing number of LTE-equipped Android devices.
According to Macotakara, Apple is yet to order components for the iPhone 5, and sources claim the fifth-generation smartphone will not contribute to the company’s fiscal 2011; that period ends on September 24. Their sources also claim an early 2012 release for the new phone, though AppleInsider joins several sites in suggesting Apple would be unlikely to bypass the 2011 holiday shopping season.
Meanwhile, as for iOS 5.0, TechCrunch claims that Apple has been hard at work integrating Siri technology into the new version, with the team brought over to Apple following the “virtual personal assistant” startup’s acquisition busy polishing the WWDC demos. It’s also suggested that Apple may open up the voice-control system to third-party developers. Last week an analyst suggested that Apple might use its new data center to run Siri-powered search, LBS and mapping services. Assuming a familiarity period following WWDC to allow developers to ready iOS 5.0 compatible apps and services, that could well mean that the iPhone 5 would launch simultaneously with the updated platform.
Finally, a Q4 2011 iPhone 5 release might allow Apple more flexibility in including LTE functionality, with Qualcomm’s newer-generation 4G chipsets available by that point. Apple claimed that the compromises inherent in first-gen LTE radios led them to bypass the technology in the Verizon iPhone 4; however, Verizon has also been vocal that it was its LTE network that attracted Apple’s attention, and has since said that Apple LTE devices are indeed in the pipeline.