Full details on Apple's 5th generation iPhone should have been here if we were to go by the company's previous iPhone launches, which were traditionally done at the WWDC held in June every year. But the only big announcement to come out of this year's event was the iCloud with no mention of a new iPhone.
Rumors have it that the new iPhone is slated to be announced sometime in August or September. Apple plans to sell up to 25 million units by the end of the year, according to suppliers who spoke with the Wall Street Journal.
Although no concrete details about the new phone have surfaced, rumors abound about the new device. For one, it is expected to be thinner and lighter than its predecessor. The phone is also expected to have some design changes, such as an end-to-end glass screen sans-bezel, or even a return to the curved back that was featured in the iPhone 3GS.
Insiders have also hinted at an improved camera on the iPhone5, probably an 8-megapixel unit compared with the present 5-megapixel camera. PCMag reported that the new iPhone could also possibly include near-field communication (NFC) that would enable mobile payments.
At this year's WWDC, Apple also announced that the new mobile and tablet operating system – iOS 5 - would be released after summer and the launch of the new iPhone and perhaps the new iPad could very well coincide with this new OS release. However, if rumors are anything to go by, with the exception of NFC, the new iPhone doesn't seem like a huge upgrade to the current iPhone 4.
A poll on WSJ entitled "Will you upgrade to iPhone 5?" had one user comment, "My iPhone 4 still seems brand new, so I think I'll wait for #6, which rumor says will have more major changes."
Another rumor going around is the announcement of a second iPhone this year. This phone is rumored to be a more budget friendly model. Dubbed ‘iPhone Nano', it seems to be targeted at prepaid users and is set to compete with the hordes of budget Android phones hitting the market.
A summer 2012 release for the iPhone 6 is also anticipated, and users could simply chose to wait the 9 or 10 months and skip the iPhone 5 in favour of an upgraded iPhone 6. However, that being said, Apple product launches never fail to generate buzz, and there will surely as always be a group of Apple enthusiasts waiting in line.
Apple's stock generally sees big upswings when new products are launched, but its new iPhone may not help it out too much if features and upgrades are lacking. Many users upgraded to the iPhone 4 just over a year ago, and the lack of new features doesn't provide the incentive to dish out money for an upgrade.
The iPhone range of smartphones have till now been Apple's largest revenue earner, but if the new iPhone 5 fails to impress at launch, other Apple products that are planned for release like the iPad 3 or the iPhone Nano, will have to more than make up for in sales to help Apples shares. One thing that could help iPhone sales is the 2011 holiday season, which will commence a couple of months after its launch. However, with a large number of competitors on the Android platform gearing up for new releases, Apple does face the risk of its new iPhone being sidelined in holiday sales, especially if it doesn't meet expectations.
Production problems have already plagued the new Apple smartphone, and Apple will have to think about their marketing strategy with regards to the new iPhone to help its stock keep momentum. The ambitious target of selling 25 million iPhone 5's by the end of the year will be closely watched by analysts, and how well the phone does on debut will determine if this target will be met.