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Why a fall iPhone 5 release could be brilliant for Apple

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You won’t see the iPhone 5 until this fall, according to the The Loop and several other sites with insider Apple sources.

If true, the news would be a pretty major change for Apple, which has traditionally announced new iPhone models early in the summer. But I don’t think a fall delay would be the end of the world for Apple — in fact, it could end up being one of the wisest decisions Apple has ever made.

Here’s why:

LTE - There’s just about zero chance that the iPhone 5 would include support for LTE 4G networks if Apple was aiming for a summer release. Instead, that schedule would point to an LTE 4G iPhone coming in 2012. Apple isn’t in a rush to get to 4G (remember that the first iPhone only supported 2G networks), primarily because it doesn’t want to get stuck with first-generation LTE chipsets that are power-hungry and take up lots of internal space.

But if Apple aims to get the iPhone 5 out for the fall, it’s a different story altogether. The company may be able to take advantage of newer LTE chipsets that are smaller and more efficient. Also, by that point in the year both Verizon and AT&T will have extended their LTE 4G networks to cover more of the country.

Obscene anticipation – If you thought the typical wait for a new Apple product whipped gadget geeks into a frenzy, prepare for a hurricane of iPhone 5 news, rumors and anticipation if Apple delayed it until the fall. By this point, we’re used to our typical new iPhone fix in the summer. Without it, we’ll be shaking like addicts desperate for our next hit.

Let’s not forget that Apple just released the Verizon iPhone in February — delaying the iPhone 5 to the fall would serve to build up more anticipation than a spring release, which likely wouldn’t have as much impact.

Coordination with iPad 3, iTunes/MobileMe cloud services - With several rumors pointing to an iPad 3 coming this fall as well, offering the iPhone 5 at that point would be a clever one-two punch for Apple. They would both serve as flagship devices for iOS 5 (which is also rumored to come this fall), and Apple could even offer incentives to buy the iPhone 5 and iPad 3 together.

The release of a new iPad and iPhone at the same time would also sell the power of Apple’s upcoming MobileMe and rumored cloud-based iTunes services. From what we know so far, Apple is working on allowing users to stream media, instead of storing it physically on their devices. That sort of universal access to media would definitely appeal to users rocking both the iPhone 5 and iPad 3. (Then again, the features will most likely be available to most older iPhone and iPad models as well.)

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  1. [...] would fall slightly. We knew that Apple was going to delay its iPhone update this year, and we suspected so months before Apple's habitual early-Summer update window. That's a human factor: The likely delays wouldn't have [...]