Apple is reportedly delaying the launch of its next generation mobile operating system, the iOS, a move that could also spell a delay for its highly anticipated iPhone 5.

The Cupertino, Calif.-based electronics maker has historically unveiled its new mobile operating systems in the early spring, with roll-outs in the summer.

In the summer 2010 the company's iOS version 4 hit the market following this pattern. But what is notable was that the unveiling of the new operating system preceded the launch of the iPhone 4.

A report from TechCrunch on Sunday said that this summer 's debut of the new software will most likely be delayed, however. In fact, the plan right now is to wait to launch iOS 5 until the fall, we've heard from two solid sources, the website said.

If Apple contnues its established upgrade cycle, this would mean that the launch of the iPhone 5 would also be pushed back to a date nearer the to the launch of the new OS -- the fall.

This could also leave room for competitors to enter the smartphone space with newer technologies and entice potential consumers away from Apple.

HP's webOS platform, received from its Palm acquisition, is expected to jump into a newer generation this year, and Blackberry is shipping its first QNX-based device next month, the Playbook.

The report did mention a number of notable features that the new software could have, including cloud-based services, a possible music locker  and location-oriented service.