The cacophony of Apple iPhone 5 release rumors has hit the crescendo, with the most recent one coming from the reputed British daily, The Guardian, stating that the iPhone 5 is in the testing stage with carriers.
If Guardian's sources are accurate, the iPhone 5 will be delivered on the much-rumored September release date. However, ambiguity related to the September release continues to remain as just a few days ago, All ThingsD reported that the elusive iPhone 5 will be delayed by a month, pushing the release date to October.
On the specifications front, AppleInsider quoting Sterne Agee analyst Shaw Wu stated that the iPhone refresh in fall will showcase a "bigger upgrade" than currently expected.
Another analyst, Ashok Kumar from Rodman & Renshaw forecasts the next generation iPhone will be a "scaled down version of the iPad 2".
In the midst of the chatter and hype surrounding the iPhone 5 release, it would be worth considering what is at stake for Apple if the Cupertino giant decides to give the rumored fall release a miss.
Android Ice Cream Sandwich:
BoyGeniusReport in June reported that Google will launch its pure Android Ice Cream Sandwich version phone the Nexus 4G around Thanksgiving. Google showcased some features of the upcoming Ice Cream Sandwich OS at its Google I/O event. The new OS is expected to eliminate fragmentation issues surrounding the Android OS. It has been crafted with the underlying philosophy: "One OS that runs everywhere." Google has touted the new OS as one of its "most ambitious" releases.
If Apple delays the release of its iPhone 5 beyond September or October, its updated iOS 5, which was introduced at WWDC in June, will directly compete with Android's Ice Cream Sandwich. Also, Ice Cream Sandwich is due to find expression on a beast of a handset, the Nexus 4G, which is rumored to sport a 1.5GHz chipset with an "ear-to-ear" monster sized screen. Thus, Apple would attempt to stay clear of such a situation which deals it a double whammy: it would be directly competing with its key competitor on both software and hardware front.
Samsung Galaxy S2, Droid Bionic and Motorola Photon:
Samsung Galaxy S2, which is yet to arrive in the U.S., has already posted a stellar performance in other parts of the world. Galaxy S2 recorded sales of five million units in 85 days. The release date for the Galaxy S2 phone in the U.S. is yet to be announced. However, it is rumored that the phone will be rebranded by various carriers and sold in U.S.
AT&T is expected to rebrand the phone as Samsung "Attain", Sprint as "Within" and T-Mobile as "Hercules." Currently, rumors suggest that Verizon will release Galaxy S2 under the moniker Samsung "Function" by Aug. 12, and other carriers will also receive the phone within a month. Thus, if Apple forgoes releasing the iPhone 5 in September, the Galaxy S2 juggernaut will roll unabated, and many consumers who have been waiting for the iPhone 5 could switch to the Samsung camp.
However, Motorola has also been creating waves with its Droid Bionic and Photon Android phones. Motorola's Photon was released on July 31 in the U.S. and the phone is an Android muscle phone which runs on Sprint's network. The phone sports a 4.3-inch display with 960x540 screen resolution. It is powered by a Tegra 2 dual-core chip and offers an 8MP camera with 1080p video capture capability.
Also in the queue is Motorola's 4G LTE offering: the Droid Bionic. The phone was first showcased at CES in January. But its launch has been withheld, and it is now touted to arrive with magnanimous specifications to counter the iPhone 5. A BestBuy promo recently described the phone as an "an all-powerful, unstoppable machine". It is expected to flaunt a 4.5-inch display with 960x540 screen resolution, a 1.2GHz TI OMAP chipset and an 8MP camera with dual-LED flash. It is rumored that the phone will arrive in August. Hence, if Apple eschews from releasing a 4G-enabled iPhone 5 in September, it will sacrifice the first mover's advantage to Droid Bionic in the 4G race.
Verizon iPhone consumers
Apple's iPhone 4 sales on Verizon lost momentum after the initial success due to the upcoming iPhone 5. Most of the potential iPhone 4 buyers on Verizon have delayed their purchase in wait of an upgraded iPhone 5. In light of this development, if Apple decides to delay the iPhone 5 release in fall, the customers waiting for iPhone could move to other Android devices.
Holiday Season Sales
Apple aficionados who are waiting to gift an iPhone during holiday season would be disappointed if Apple fails to deliver on the fall release. With Thanksgiving holidays followed by Christmas, Apple would attempt to place an iPhone 5 on the shelves to woo these customers. Android phones will make a heyday if iPhone 5 fails to arrive, especially with Android Ice Cream Sandwich set for launch during Thanksgiving, a slew of new Android phones can raise the bar for iPhone.
iPhone 4 Sales
Lastly, iPhone 4 sales will be hit hard if Apple decides to delay the iPhone 5 release, as the delay will pitch the iPhone 4 directly with likes of Droid Bionic and Samsung Galaxy S2. In comparison to these phones, iPhone 4 looks specifications-deficient. Thus, a further delay will hurt Apple's smartphone sales.
In view of these developments, Apple iPhone 5's delay will be Android's gain.