What If There Is No New iPhone?

Since the original iPhone released in 2007, Apple has announced a new iPhone every summer at their conference for developers, World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC). Steve Jobs usually gives the keynote and then the phones ship a week or two after the conference.

Before that, usually, Apple has an event near the end of March that announces the new iOS (previously, iPhone OS) that the phones and later iPod touches will run on.  Last year, Apple held an event in January to announce the iPad and then the iPad released around this time of year. They announced iOS 4 on April 8th last year.

This allows for a few things:

  • The new iPhone to be released in June with the new iOS installed on it.
  • Developers can test their apps with the new iOS prior to its release (it usually spends a few months in beta).

This week, Apple announced WWDC 2011. It sold out in something like 10 hours. Each ticket cost $1,599.

They have 5,000 of them. And they sold out in 10 hours.  Last year it took 8 days.  The year before it took a month. (Anyone here seeing a trend?)

Here's the thing though, most reports are saying that there will be no new iPhone at it.

Their tag line, "Join us for a preview of the future of iOS and Mac OS X."

A preview? Could this mean that there will not be a late March/Early April event highlighting the new iOS? Very possible.  In fact, many bloggers and analysts are saying that they are hearing "Yes."  They're saying that Apple has skirted around saying that there will be no new hardware at WWDC.

Some have said that maybe these rumors are flying so that Apple can really surprise. I say, no. The new phone (almost undoubtedly) would have to be running the new iOS. In order for that to happen, all those apps on the App Store would need to be tested and approved through the process. In order for that to happen, iOS 5 (the presumed name of the new one) would have to be in beta for a few months. The only way there is going to be a new phone at WWDC this year is if it runs iOS 4.  Doubtful? Very.

This raises a question, who might buy a new iPhone this summer and how will they feel about doing so? The latter can be combined with the former to become easier to manage and be broken down into sections or categories:

  • Verizon iPhone customer: You just bought your iPhone 4.  You love it. You waited forever for Verizon to carry it. You don't want it to be "the old model" come June. (Nevermind that if you buy an Android phone today, it is completely feasible and highly possible that it will be the "old model" in a few weeks. You can't predict Android releases, you can't predict how many phones and what features they might all have.)
  • AT&T iPhone 4  late customer: You own an iPhone 4 on AT&T and have for a few months.  The darned Apple store employees didn't tell you that there might be a new phone (as they shouldn't) and you bought it not knowing.  If a new phone comes out, you'll feel like the Verizon iPhone customer.
  • AT&T iPhone 4 early customer: You're on top of this news.  You bought your iPhone on release day and have pretty much decided that if AT&T will let you, you'll buy a new phone every year just so you can have the new one at all times (This is me). You will buy a new one if a new one releases, but you'll be a little disappointed if there is no new phone (This is not necessarily me.
  • AT&T iPhone 3G or 3GS customer: Let's be honest.  You saw that the older model phone was cheaper. So, you bought it. Not a bad idea (all iPhones are great), but now you're behind and your phone doesn't have some of the features as your friend's phone.  The worst part is, you signed a contract with Satan (AT&T) and now you're stuck (especially if you're not the primary line on your contract) with an extended contract and a phone that is becoming less and less relevant because it was "old" when you bought it. You'd get an iPhone 4 if you could, but your friends said to hold out and wait for the new one.  If a new one releases this summer, you'll spend the extra money over the iPhone 4 (presumably to become the cheaper model) and get the iPhone 5. If a new one doesn't release this summer, you're going to be straight up pissed.
  • Other Cellular customer: You're on T-Mobile or Sprint (Or US Cellular or that other thing that Chandler has that only covers Mississippi) and while your carrier doesn't have the iPhone, you're happy with your phone (most likely some sort of Android phone). If there is a new iPhone this summer, you'll be intrigued to see what it can do, but you probably won't switch. It costs too much money monthly and you'd have to get out of your current contract.  If you couldn't stand your current phone, you'd think about it...but as long as you don't hate it, you're wiling to wait it out to see if the iPhone might come to your carrier.

So, what if there is no new iPhone at WWDC this year? If you're one of the first 3, you'll be ok.  You might be a little disappointed, but let's be honest...your iPhone isn't anywhere near outdated. If, though, you're ready for a new phone, this might hack you off a bit. If you're from category 5, you'll be ok.

So, having covered that...let's explore one more side of things.

If Apple doesn't release a new phone in June, that means that their one and only phone will be competing against phones coming out now. The iPhone 4 will be more than a year old. In the cell phone market, that seems like ages.

But - if you compare the iPhone 4, feature by feature, to almost every other phone on the market, it still remains EXTREMELY competitive.  It, still-after being out for 10 months (remember, this is an eternity), has the highest resolution screen, biggest selection of apps, one of the best cameras, best video chat software (does Android's Skype even have video yet?  And by the way, FaceTime is easily the easiest to use software...none of the other apps even come close), one of the best battery lives, and most definitely the best music integration software available.

So, in ten months, the iPhone 4 remains competitive. Extremely. Is it the best phone on the market now? While some of the Android phones beat it out  on things like 4G, Voice Control, Bigger displays, and faster processors...the iPhone still serves as a better experience, for most customers. It's not perfect, but it's pretty dang close. I obviously have a somewhat biased opinion, but I think it is still in the top two or three best phones on the market  And it is almost a year old.

So, what if there is no new iPhone? For you category 4 folk, it might suck.  But for the industry, there is still a way to go to catch up with the iPhone.

I hope there is a new phone. Apple's creations always blow my mind.  They change the industry also.

My wallet, on the other hand, hopes they wait a little longer.

Do you want a new phone? Do you want the new iPhone?