After two straight years of iPhone releases in the fall, the assumption is that the WWDC is no longer the venue of choice for iPhone releases. But with Apple releasing the iPad 4 less than a year after the iPad 3, could we see the iPhone 6 in less than a year?
It didn’t come as a surprise that, just a week or so after the announcement of the iPhone 5, rumors abounded that the iPhone 6 would be released in earnest. And by “in earnest,” I mean early 2013. As absurd as those rumors were — and continue to be — it follows the traditional cycle of the rumor mill. Back in 2010, when the iPhone 4 had been released, the rumor mill strongly believed that the iPhone 5 would follow right on its heels, due in large part to the sense at that time that the iPhone 4 was a massive failure, cut to “antennagate.”
Well, two years and millions upon millions of iPhone 4s later, we can chuckle at that sentiment. And while we’re at it, we can also laugh at the idea folks expected the iPhone to be released in January of 2011. Good times.
But for as much as rumors of Apple releasing new devices less than a year from the most recent iteration’s release might seem like pipe dreams, Apple’s move to release a fourth generation iPad along with its iPad Mini this week should at least give us some pause: Cupertino has now proven it is capable of doing it.
Some will suggest that comparing the release of the new iPad 4 is simply not a good comparison to the prospect of releasing an iPhone 6, since the 6 would most likely constitute an overhaul of the new iPhone; the iPad 4 is really just a refresh. But let’s be honest: all of the iPad iterations have been refreshes. They’ve all kept the basic concept of the original iPad, but just improved components.
With the iPad 4, it now has the A6X chip, improved graphics, improved wireless, and the lightning port. Why then would it be impossible to imagine that the next iPhone — maybe not the 6, but a refreshed iPhone 5S — couldn’t be released at the WWDC in June of 2013? Keeping the current iPhone 5 form factor, the 5S could feature an A7 chip, the new iOS 7 operating system (assuming it is beta tested starting in April), and perhaps the use of holographic LiquidMetal on the back? The possibility for tweaking it are limitless, but now that we’ve seen Apple willing to release a new iteration just a little over a half-year after the last one means that we really could see the next iPhone in June of next year.
It still remains to be seen how consumers will take this sped-up release schedule. For those who excitedly bought the iPad 3 in the Spring, they now feel as though they spent $500 or more on a legacy tablet. After all of the buzz and excitement that has surrounded the iPhone 5, would Apple be willing to move on from the 5 just nine months after its release?
By Michael Nace