iPhone 5 release date for October – 82%. iPhone 4S – 50%. Sprint – 67%
September 28, 2011 by Bill Palmer
by Bill Palmer
Apple is six days away from taking the lid off what the public hopes is an iPhone 5 complete with a 2011 release date, what could be an iPhone 4S under a pair of very different circumstances, and what will certainly be the new iOS 5 operating system. In addition to existing Verizon and AT&T iPhone iterations, Sprint could join the club as well. Other new product categories, from the iPod touch 5 to the iPad 3, are on the table for the October Apple Event to varying degrees. Lacking a crystal ball but having observed Apple’s actions and motivations, here’s a rundown of our odds of various products and concepts coming to fruition at Apple’s October 4th event.
iPhone 5: 82%. The widespread assumption is that Apple’s “Let’s talk iPhone” tease is in reference to the iPhone 5, and that’s probably a correct one. However, it’s no guarantee. The “talk” part of the invite is in reference to Apple’s unannounced new Assistant feature of iOS 5, which allows you to control your iPhone in a human manner simply by speaking to it. Apple’s choice to focus on an iPhone software feature rather than new hardware aspects in its tease leaves the door open to the scenario in which Apple never was able to get past the component and/or manufacturing issues which dogged the iPhone 5 all summer, and are now instead coming to market with an iPhone 4S. That would push the iPhone 5 release date well into 2012, and would result in some unhappy customers. About that iPhone 4S…
iPhone 4S: 50%. There are two ways in which the 4S can play into Apple’s 2011 puzzle, one of them exciting and the other not so much. The first is the doomsday scenario in which the iPhone 5 isn’t ready and the 4S is a substitute. Put that at 18%, to counter our 82% odds of an iPhone 5. The other 32% comes from the scenario in which the iPhone 5 arrives with the iPhone 4S as a sidekick. The reasons are multiple: the current iPhone 4 won’t power Assistant, or so we hear, so the 4S will have the same A5 processor as the iPhone 5 and iPad 2. A single 4S unit would eliminate the separate Verizon and AT&T units, while adding Sprint compatibility.
Sprint iPhone: 67%. There’s at least twice as much evidence in favor of a Sprint iPhone 5 (and/or 4S) as there is against it. Sprint execs have teased it publicly without quite confirming it. Sprint employees have installed signal boosters around Apple Stores. Come to think of it, there’s really no concrete evidence to suggest it won’t happen.
T-Mobile iPhone: 0% T-Mobile itself has confirmed it won’t get the iPhone 5 this year. It didn’t say why, but the eight hundred pound elephant in the room is the ongoing merger talks with AT&T, which would seem to preclude T-Mobile from doing its own deal with Apple in the mean time…
iOS 5: 100%. The only sure bet is the iOS 5 operating system itself. Apple previewed many of its major features this summer, and will reveal the remainder of them next week. It’ll run on whatever new iPhone(s) Apple introduces, plus the iPhone 4 and 3GS (in limited capacity), and all iPads.
iPad 3: 2% If this were to be a co-headlining event in which the iPhone 5 and iPad 3 debuted together, the invitation would have reflected as much. If the iPad 3 were to get its own separate event, it would have happened before this one, not after; the holidays are too close at this point to have another event in November for a new iPad. If there is to be a new iPad this year, it’ll be something quieter like an iPad 2S.
iPod touch 5: 50% We give it equal odds as to whether Apple upgrades the iPod touch 5 with 3G or 4G networking and makes it a powerful device, or merely kills it off in recognition of the iPhone 5 working on most carriers. Would a contract-free iPhone surface to take the place of the iPod touch? That may be the more interesting question.
iPod nano, shuffle: does anyone care? Somewhere in the rundown will be the debut of the new traditional iPod lineup. Those models still sell well, but they’re inexpensive and considered commodities. We’ve lost count as to what generation the nano and shuffle are even on, let alone what new features they might gain in their next revision.
Here’s more on the iPhone 5.
Updated 10:50pm PST with additional information regarding T-Mobile and Apple