Something just went crazy in the iPhone rumor mill.
A new debate has arisen in the last couple days about what the next release of the iPhone is actually going to look like. There have been a lot of reasons given why the iPhone 5 release has been pushed back, or not even set yet. It was absent from the 2011 WWDC keynote address even though the iOS 5 was given up in full detail. This can be traced back to the tragedies in Japan that affected manufacturing, as well as the popularity of the iPhone 4, but none of it seems to fully explain the push back. Even the white iPhone 4 seemed a little odd, and really just a way to pacify the market as they wait eagerly for the next generation. Why is it then that people are still left in the dark about the new iPhone? New suggestions have been that the reason lies in the fact that there will be two iPhone models.
This second iPhone, called the iPhone 4s by ‚Äö√Ñ√∫insiders,‚Äö√Ñ√π is supposed to be a stripped down model that is really only a meager upgrade from the iPhone 4. This budgeted version was intended to have a pre-paid plan option and only run $350 without subsidy, which means that it would open up the iTechnology to a whole realm of people who cannot get on contracts, pay a monthly fee, or go with a full size new iPhone. This would not replace the iPhone 5 in any way, and instead this would simply appear as a ‚Äö√Ñ√∫super phone‚Äö√Ñ√π in comparison to the iPhone 4s and would be the most superior device on the market.
What this less expensive iPhone situation really reminds us of is the debates over the supposed iPhone Nano that have been happening for years. This is by no means a new phenomenon and we have seen this essentially since the release of the iPod Nano, which proved that the iPod could be marketed to a lower income demographic or a population that did not want the full features and price of the iPod. The blogosphere turned into a spastic freak show in 2007 when iPhone case developer XSKN went ahead and put an iPhone Nano section on their website, which is a move they did for the iPhone before it was officially released. Even a notable JP Morgan analyst has stated that Apple is looking to release a simpler and cheaper version of the iPhone, according to Information Architects. His prediction was premature as it was hopeful for a 2007 holiday season. This could lead to very basic version of the iPhone that just allow for things like calls and email, which would likely defeat the purpose of the iPhone all together.
Some British websites reported that the rumored device will be around 150 British pounds for new customers and was going to be available in 2009, which never came about. These rumors have been in play since the beginning of the iPhone release, mainly because they saw a pattern of development with the original iPod and they believe it serves to reason that this would be matched by the iPhone.
More recently Bloomberg had announced the release of an iPhone Nano in 2010 that was to be about a third of the size of the conventional iPhone 4. It would also have a touch screen, would work in many ways like the newest incarnation of the iPod Nano, and would only cost $200. The Wall Street Journal followed this up by also stating that there was a mini version, but may cost a high $300 to $350. The New York Times went against this trend and said that there will be a less expensive iPhone available, but it will come in at exactly the same size. Apparently the idea that small is better in the cell phone world still persists.
Often times these iPhone Nano rumors are matched with the idea that the split will then create a super phone: the iPhone Pro. In early days, before dual cameras and HD video, this meant that the iPhone Pro would have a full size camera on it that could record HD video. It may also come with a keyboard similar to the SideKick, have huge storage spaces, and do much of what we have now seen on the iPhone 4.
The iPhone 4s rumors are really the evolution of this rumor dichotomy, matching the iPhone 4s as the iPhone Nano and the iPhone 5 as the iPhone Pro supersizing the competition. The name iPhone 4s has some credibility, however, in that iPhone app developers have been leaking this title for the prototype and listing that it has the A5 processor that drives the iPad 2. This does not necessarily indicate a cheaper iPhone, but simply an iPhone with a powerful processor and a different name. This would not be out of their realm since the iPhone 3G jumped over to the 3Gs as its next version, not strait to the iPhone 4.
The reason many of those interpreting this rumor assumed this to be a simple iPhone was that it looked identical to the iPhone 4 besides this power upgrade under the hood, and they could not believe that this would be the much anticipated iPhone 5. The new assumption came over from Peter Miser‚Äö√Ñ√¥s Forbes Magazine quotes where he listed that this iPhone 4s would be the release for 2011, and would really only be a minor upgrade. The reason was that the iPhone 5 was being built around the Qualcomm 4G LTE chip and was simply not going to be ready for 2011, and instead was pushed to 2012. To pacify consumers who just must have the newest model they have released the iPhone 4s, which would give them just enough to put off the iPhone 5 without driving down their market credibility.
This rumor has been contested publicly and BMR has stated that a very new version of the iPhone, presumably the iPhone 5, will be released in 2011 without question. It is stated to include tings like a four inch screen, the assumed A5 chipset, and a very new cosmetic appeal.
On the other hand, BMO Capital Markets have focused in on the iPhone 4s release as the primary one to be announced in September. Here they completely trounce the notion that a cheap iPhone is on the way and instead that the iPhone 4s is coming and will rely mainly on the software based upgrades of the iOS 5 and iCloud. These are major releases and could be enough to fill up the empty Trojan horse of the iPhone 4s, and it may be a way to keep those who just recently jumped onboard with Verizon and the newly priced iPhone 3Gs to wait for the 2012 release of the iPhone 5 with 4G LTE network capabilities. The release of the iPhone 4s will also give Apple a new cheap iPhone for the 2012 market, and this may set a pattern for less expensive product relationships that would be different than the product design change assumed in the iPhone Nano rumor.
With all the features that have been assigned to the iPhone 5 it is no wonder that most analysts are pushing its real assumed release back a year. If LTE and Near Field Technology, which allows users to do things like make payments by their iPhone‚Äö√Ñ√¥s proximity to a reader, are any indication then the iPhone 5 could be one of the most major upgrades we have ever seen in the mobile market. Right now there is nothing but rumor and conjecture driving this and nothing official has come out of the proverbial Apple mouth, which means that until we reach the fall we cannot know for sure. What you can be sure of now is that there will be a new device released, the likelihood that it will be less expensive than normal is dim, and all the features that we have hoped for in the iPhone 5 are not going to be available to you before this year‚Äö√Ñ√¥s holiday season.