Yesterday, Apple opened up registrations for 2011’s WWDC, and within ten hours had already sold out of tickets. The more interesting rumor from yesterday, though, was that Apple would refrain from unveiling the iPhone 5 at this year’s WWDC, instead focusing entirely on software. That would mean that instead of the iPhone 5 shipping in June, as it has historically done, the iPhone 5’s launch would be pushed back until later in the year.
After the initial shock, the rumor sounds extremely likely. The report came from Jim Dalrymple over at The Loop, whose sources are solid. Moreover, the early year launch of the Verizon iPhone and Apple’s continued delay in shipping the white iPhone 4 (while repeatedly promising it’s still coming) all imply that Apple’s not planning the iPhone 5 in June, but will push it until later in the year, to debut before the holiday shopping season.
Over at Slashgear, Chris Davies brings up one interesting point: a late 2011 debut might give Apple more flexibility in making the iPhone 5 4G compatible. Qualcomm’s next LTE chipsets are due out at that point, and will allegedly boast improved power efficiency… the very issue that led Apple to leave LTE support out of the Verizon iPhone earlier this year.
If Apple does delay the iPhone 5 until later in the year, it’s all the more likely we’ll see a sizable update boasting 4G capability. For Verizon users, that means LTE; unfortunately, on AT&T, their HSPA+ “4G” smartphones are actually throttled to be slower than their regular 3G phones. If the iPhone does go 4G later this year, the Verizon iPhone 5 is going to be the clear winner: AT&T’s 4G network is a disgrace, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to get substantially better anytime soon.