Apple has been pretty quiet about the next version of its mobile operating system, dubbed iOS 5. That’s not surprising, since it is probably tied to the next version of its iPhone, the iPhone 5. But TechCrunch claims that this unannounced software has, in fact, been delayed until the fall, according to two unnamed sources.

That’s an interesting tea leaf, but it’s not clear what it means. It may mean that the iPhone 5 itself is delayed until the fall, since Apple typically times the release of new hardware and software features together. For the iPad 2, Apple issued a relatively minor update to iOS, dubbed iOS 4.3.

The rumor leads to some interesting speculation about what Apple might do next.

TechCrunch says there could be another Apple event coming in April to talk about iOS 5 and MobileMe, but now that event is looking less likely. Apple may do a preview of the iOS 5 at its Worldwide Developers Conference this summer.

TechCrunch says that iOS 5 might be timed to a new type of iPad, something beyond the iPad 2. It will also be heavily based on cloud computing, and Apple may launch several new services around it. One of those would likely be a music service. Another cloud service is a location service that helps you find friends and family members. The new version of the Mac OS, code-named Lion, is also coming this summer.

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