If Apple is delaying the release of its much-fancied iPhone 5 -- it certainly looks like at this point of time -- there indeed are going to be some strategic reasons behind it.

And, if one dismisses grapevine on supply crunch and logistical bottlenecks, then the reasons are purely strategic, given that Apple is fighting hard for its space in the maddening smartphone arena.

1. Deal a sucker punch to rivals

There are numerous reasons to think that Apple is readying a smash hit device that deals a sucker punch to potent rivals. Who could blame Apple if it was eying a lasting coup in the handset segment similar to the launch of iPhone in 2007? Apple would certainly set much store by its iOS 5 and stack it up with all the might and variety it can conjure so that the new software is miles ahead of the competition. Google wouldn’t like to see Android zooming up in the rear view mirror. Not when Google's smartphone operating system is already closing in on Apple's market share leads. The bottom-line is clearly a delay in releasing iPhone 5.

Analysts have said the new operating system could include cloud-based features, a larger advertising platform for iAds, a digital locker in the cloud to synchronize content between users' Apple devices, a music streaming service on a subscription basis and an aggressively priced video subscription service. The new phone may certainly be NFC-enabled, have an A5 processor and 4G connectivity.

2. Holiday season launch

Apple could simply be planning to launch the iPhone 5 sometime closer to the holiday season, according to some market observers. Besides, Apple is on a roll currently with its iPad 2 and iPhone 4 returning magnificent sales figures. Probably, why not save up your best product for a time sales could hit a trough close to the holiday season?
However, there are major disadvantages to changing the Apple way of launching products in June. Apple will definitely miss out on the lucrative summer sales. Besides, there is some chance many Android devices will have gone to the market, flaunting high-end features like the NFC and dual core chip sets, pipping a latecomer-iPod to the post.

3. The Verizon angle

There is the argument that Verizon customers will be bemused if their iPhone 4 becomes suddenly obsolete with the launch of iPhone 5. After all, Apple tied up with Verizon only recently and wouldn’t considerations of fairness justify a delayed launch of the upgraded device? At the same time, from a commercial point of view, this question is irrelevant. Apple's canvas is truly global, and the number of Verizon customers accounts for a paltry figure in Apple's global scheme of things.

4. The 4-G angle

Apple iPhone's two U.S. carriers, Verizon and AT&T are both laggards in the 4-G race. This makes for a strong argument for a delayed iPhone 5 launch as iPhone 5 is strongly touted to be 4-G-equipped. Launching a phone with 4-G while major U.S. carriers for the phone are thoroughly unequipped for it will not be strategically sound. Why not give Verizon and AT&T some more time to get their 4-G act together?

5. Jobs' medical leave

Grapevine has it that Steve Jobs' medical leave could be another reason for the delayed launch.

Postscript

Many in the blogosphere are agitated over references to the 'delay' per se. They aver a delay is not in question as a product launch date had never been announced.