One of the things that concerns me about the release of the Verizon iPhone 4, is how this anomaly in the iPhone release schedule will change Apple’s strategy. Will it change it at all? Will it be business as usual come June 2011? The main group of people that are potentially impacted from this change are current iPhone owners, AT&T customers.

Are we still likely to see the next iteration of the iPhone released this summer, or does this bring significant change to what we’ve all grown accustomed to over the years?

Although I once asserted the idea that Apple would likely be skipping over any incremental upgrades this summer, the situation just got a bit more complex with Verizon thrown into the mix.

On one hand you’ve got millions of potential customers that are eager to take the plunge this February with Verizon’s iPhone 4. On the other hand you have millions of current iPhone 4 owners with AT&T who are waiting to see what Apple has in store for them next. What does Apple do?

One option would be for them to stay their course and release the iPhone 5 this summer on AT&T. That would surely satisfy AT&T and its many customers, but would likely alienate the folks who just signed 2-year deals in February with Verizon.

Another option would be to forgo “normal”, and push back the release of the iPhone 5 until both AT&T’s and Verizon’s LTE offerings are deployed and mature (though AT&T still has some catching up to do). That way, Apple could essentially release the same phone for both networks, and mosey its way back to a unified release schedule.

The more I ponder this, the more likely it seems that Apple will follow the latter course. Hence, it seems more and more evident that this summer’s release could be an incremental upgrade of some sort; think iPhone 3GS. Perhaps a few bumped up specs, a fixed antenna, and better battery life.

Once summer passes, Apple could wait it out the full year, and release LTE capable devices in the summer of 2012, meaning Verizon owners would have to wait about a year and a half for a refresh. Or, they could bump up the release date to spring 2012, and drop the summer release schedule altogether, at least for 2012.

There are so many options for Apple to consider. I know they’d hate to give up the summer release date due to the success they’ve had over the years, but these are the sorts of tough decisions that the big wigs in Cupertino are dealing with.

If you were on Apple’s board, what would you encourage them to do?

  • Ernesto Castellanos

    I think Apple is not going to release a newer iPhone this summer. Because most people are still stuck with the two year upgrade contract. (especially if they got the iPhone 4 last summer)

    so what I think that’s going to happen Is that apple will wait until next year to finally release a newer iPhone ( “iPhone 4S” / “iPhone 5”)
    It’s better for them if they do this because imagine how many iPhone users will be waiting for this newer iPhone. (iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4 customers). And it’s possible that they release a newer iPhone for Verizon as well. This way they release an iPhone for AT&T and Verizon at the same time.

  • MC

    There’s a world outside of Verizon and At&t, aka International market

  • Brice

    I would wait it out until both AT&T and Verizon’s LTE is mature.. I’m going to be signing a contract extension to upgrade to the iPhone 4, I think that releasing the iPhone 5 for both carriers would be a mistake if they wanted to keep Verizon customer’s buying the iPhone.

    Just my opinion.

    -Current Verizon customer with an android device only becuase i couldnt get iOS.

  • Topsy

    Hi, I know is off topic, but please can someone tell me how to fix my Mobile Terminal crashing in iphone 4. My Email is
    Thanks for your help.

  • Irha

    With other devices advancing so much faster (e.g., dual core tegra), Apple can’t wait that long to release an update. I am guessing, they will release a newer version in the summer for a higher price, and keep the current model in circulation (while taking 3GS out of the market), just like how they have been having both 3GS and 4 in the market.

  • iphone4G is better then 3gS

  • Petis

    Guys, LTE is so unstable these days that Apple will never use it in iPhone at least in the next 3 years. Besides that LTE does not bring much advantages compared to 3G, yes, it can be faster, but for that you need a really special LTE device which uses advanced features like double antenna and this really fast LTE is aimed more for bigger devices like eg. notebooks or ipad. Other drawback of LTE is that it cannot be easily used for voice. On LTE you must use voice over ip which could be implemented but when you move to area where is no LTE coverage (which will be very typical at the beginning) you cannot handover the voice over ip call to 3G or 2G easily (if even possible there will be quite some time of silence). On the other hand LTE could be quite fine for iPad because it does not use voice.

    • Petis,

      The HTC Thunderbolt is an upcoming smartphone that is LTE enabled. If HTC can come up with a design that works for LTE, surely Apple can, that’s their forte’. I’m not saying that you’re incorrect with your assumptions, but it’s definitely not out of the realm of possibilities.

  • This will be good for Verizon customers

  • Kendall

    I don’t see the third option listed which is simply that Apple releases the iPhone 5 this summer on both Verizon and AT&T. It might put off a few people, but if Verizon (or Apple) also offered a deep discount to trade in probably not too many.

    I don’t see it changing Apple’s release schedule, at all. Apple hasn’t accommodated a bit for Verizon yet, why should they start?