Could iOS 5 only be coming this fall?

Imagining iOS 5

Instead of keeping to the last 3 years of tradition and showing off iOS 5 at an April preview event and releasing it with iPhone 5 this June, could Apple instead preview it at WWDC and only release it this fall? That's the rumor TechCrunch's MG Siegler has posted tonight:

  • iOS 5 will launch in the fall and will be a major revamp of the OS.
  • It could well be previewed at WWDC, it just won’t be released then.
  • The iOS 5 launch is also likely to coincide with the release of a new type of iPad, which we previously reported on.
  • The new iOS will be heavily built around the cloud, and we could see several new services launch from Apple that take advantage of this.
  • Yes, one of those is very likely a “music locker” service. There is also a fall launch aim for this, during Apple’s annual music-themed event.
  • But much of the cloud stuff will first be talked about at WWDC, Apple’s developer event which will take place in June.
  • One of the new cloud service elements is likely a location service that focuses on finding friends and family members.
  • As we said yesterday, OS X Lion is still on pace for a summer release — some of the new cloud components are likely to be baked into it as well.

While anything is possible, this doesn't sound very much like Apple. Release numbers are marketing driven, not engineering driven (which is why internal release numbers aren't always the same as external, like Windows 7 actually being Windows 6.1 and Apple TV 4.2.1 actually being Apple TV 4.3.1).

Competition is heating up with Google still iterating Android at a breakneck pace, webOS hitting 2.x and 3.0 this year, and the first BlackBerry QNX-based device shipping next month. Apple going 18 months between iOS refreshes would be perceived as falling behind.

Sure Apple will want to have quite a few "tent pole" features to tout for iOS 5 to be certain, but if any one of them -- even cloud connectivity -- isn't ready for the spring there's nothing to stop Apple from rolling out a less ambitious iOS 5 in April anyway. Remember, there were rumors iPad 2 would be delayed and it wasn't (it just didn't get a Retina Display.)

(And yes, that does mean that, just like there are rumors of an iPad 3 coming this fall with Retina Display, there may well be iOS 5.1 (or, hey, iOS 6!) rumors for the fall as well.)

So what do you think? Will Apple make us wait an extra 3 months for iOS 5?

Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!

Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

Could iOS 5 only be coming this fall?


I so hope that they don't go cloud. I really want a 64GB iPhone, as do many people. I don't want to have to rely on network speed when I want to listen/watch/access my media.

It's not even about the LTE iPhone, it's about having a cloud based iPhone and a company like AT&T giving the consumer only 2GB of data usage... I'll settle for a 63GB model as well!!

I certainty want the option of cloud based services and the only people who it really wouldn't benefit are those on At&t without the option of unlimited data.
"I don’t want to have to rely on network speed when I want to listen/watch/access my media." <- Apple wont make it so that you can't store your media on your phone just if you need extra space on the go. You don't know how many times I went on a trip and forgot to add a song or movie and can't really do anything about it. Apple giving us options is not a bad thing.
Although I really hope iOS5 doesn't get pushed back its hard enough dealing with the Android bone heads now let alone for another 5 months.
iOS would be the best mobile OS if apple fixed the notifications, and made a web version of itunes.

"the only people who it really wouldn’t benefit are those on At&t without the option of unlimited data."
What tripe!! I really with some people would stop being so narrow minded and realise that there is a world outside of North America!
The opposite here is true, the only people who would benefit are those on AT&T with unlimited data plans. There are hundreds, if not thousands of mobile networks around the world and some of these might also offer unlimited data, but a lot do not.
And then you have Verizon in the USA. What good would a cloud service be on Verizon when you can't access data if your using voice services? Would you want to be told you can not access your music, photos and other files while you're talking about them? My files are mine and I should be able to access them anytime I want, not when a network says I can!
Until the time comes when the world is ready for cloud services and can support mass take-up accross brands (not just Apple products) then a mobile device without internal storage just won't be a winner.
But what nobody has mentioned so far is combining the two. A 64GB iPhone with cloud based services (Mobile Me?) built in. The two running seamlessly side-by-side, giving the customer the option of where to host their data. That is most likely the near-future.
Until a side-by-side service has been around for some years and proven itself to be user friendly and reliable we will never lose local storage options, as a lot of people simply won't trust leaving their data in somebody else's hands.

"And then you have Verizon in the USA. What good would a cloud service be on Verizon when you can’t access data if your using voice services? Would you want to be told you can not access your music, photos and other files while you’re talking about them? My files are mine and I should be able to access them anytime I want, not when a network says I can!"
Wth?! To bad LTE supports voice over data (which is what the next iPhone could possible be) and thats a stupid reason anyways. Why would you want to look at your content on the cloud and talk about it at the same time, like that makes no sense the cloud isn't going to be there for you to look at and admire, its going to be there for you to pull content from when you need it! Voice and data is a CDMA restriction Verizon isn't being evil and keeping it from its customers. In the USA Verizon is the best iPhone carrier for cloud based services.
And when will "the world" be ready for cloud based services? You all act like cloud based services will bring a friggin nuclear Holocaust Apple usually does things right when I comes to software so if they release it Im sure it will be more than ready for prime time. A 64GB iPhone is welcome to especially but I'd rather have cloud services if I had to choose one.
And last but not least I talk about the US because thats where I am therefore Its what I am concerned about, and I have very little knowledge about plans from other countries.

So when the cloud server crashes you won't mind not being able to access your content for a while? While your phone won't connect and you ring Verizon for tech support you'll hang up to follow their instructions and call back for the next step?
For a product that is famous for being so popular world wide, it's silly to think about it in a one country manor. If Apple did business that way they wouldn't have a language setting on the phone would they? No matter where anyone is based in the world, there's a much bigger picture to look at than the small piece of land they take up. No company is going to release a product world wide that will only benefit those in it's home country, and people who think otherwise really should broaden their horizons!

You act like you still wont be able to save media on your device when cloud based services take off! Im still going to have most of my content on my iPhone internal storage, the cloud would just be there for convenience. If the cloud crashes then it will be the same as if you didn't have the cloud at all! Your answer makes no sense we have no cloud now and if it isn't killing anyone right now why would it be sooo tragic if the cloud crashes? If your iTunes library is accessible through the cloud then you wont lose anything because it's attached to your iTunes!
And I never said anything about anywhere else in the world not being important, I cant speak on other places in the world if I have no information on them! I don't know what other carriers offer unlimited data and which don't so why would I speak of them? To sound ignorant?
Your retorts make no sense whatsoever.

I know Apple likes to push technology... and I think the cloud is the future for this kind of stuff..... BUT, there has to be an infrastructure to support the cloud. Current cellular data networks (and especially pricing!) just aren't ready for that. And... worse, they are headed the wrong direction!

Weii im not suprised about the delay.It happens almost with every apple product. I waited along time to get iphone 4 and to me its worth the wait. I do agree apple needs to start thinking past north america if not the android will take over and iphones will be a thing of the past.

Of course. I just gave my iPhone 4 to my wife so I could use her upgrade on the 5 (her 3gs was all scratched and wanted a new one now) so of course the next iPhone may be delayed making my wait even more painfull.

What about the iPad3? No one seems to care about how close to each other the release of new products are... So do you want what you need, or do you just want hype stuff?

Who cares if it gets released in the fall or on the summer. Seriously man it'll get released when it's released. It's a bunch of speculation really and there's no value into. Stop speculating, relax everybody, it'll come when it comes.

I have no idea about what version when... but I'm pretty sure there will be a somewhat major iOS update before fall.
Also, I'm quite sure there isn't going to be an iPad3 in the fall... that just doesn't make any sense. What would they do other than bump the CPU a bit more? The new material body idea is interesting, but would it really save THAT much weight? Retina display... I don't get the point of it on a tablet. Some ports? That seems to be against Apple's design standards. Better cameras? I guess that might be one thing. There just isn't any reason for an iPad 3 at this point or in the fall.

Agree with everyone above. The cloud isn't realistic unless apple gets the carriers to do unlimited fast data access at a reasonable price. Unless apple is providing the backhaul for that it will not happen. If apple dives into cloud on the current infrastructure it will fail hard. They know this and that is why these rumors are as BS as the people who claimed the second iPad wasn't coming until the summer

This won't happen. They might have some cloud services but the whole os won't be based on it. The cloud will be there for a backup. Also a new iphone is coming out this summer, and it will have ios 5 on it.

I'm guessing it will be something like Dropbox maybe, but with stuff aimed more directly at Apple apps and services.

They might want to reconsider this whole cloud thing with our new data caps going into effect soon. There is no reason for iOs 5 to be delayed. Just give us a files app for system wide storage, better notifications and a customizable home screen. I'll be happy with just those 3 things.

iPad 2 is huge. Monumental. Staggering global demand and popularity and is still ahead of the competition. So why would they release another iPad (upgraded or another model) 6 months later and take momentum from iPad 2? Apple doesn't just throw new products out there - they make events out of them.

But there's one thing that bothers and i.e sale of every new iphone is driven by new hardware along with fresh release of ios.
new hardware just cant seem to drive enough sales.

apple has a well balance release schedule at the moment with major products being released at 3 monthly intervals. This benefits them in terms of marketing a product clarity.
pushing everything back means that they are going to release the new ipad, iphone and ipod all in the fall ? i'm not sure that makes any sense.

This Techcrunch story is just laughable. Let's change a formula that delivers billions of dollars in revenue.
There will be an iPhone 5 in June and a new iPad next year. It's the Apple way!

There won't be an iPad 3 this year. Apple would never do something like that, they never have and they never will. As for iOS 5 it's possible they might wait till WWDC to show it off, but I think we will deffinetly see it with the release of the iPhone 5.

Some of the sites and articles were talking that way. They were saying that Apple was going to just put a small amount of storage locally in devices (to hold the OS and settings) and that all or most of the data would be stored in the cloud.
Nice in theory, bad in practice. First, what happens if you don't have access to the cloud? Not everyone lives in a major urban area... and there are MANY places in major urban areas where you can't access the cloud.
And, even if THAT problem could be solved... the current pricing for data services is just astronomically out of whack! Until we get some competition in the telcos in N.A., the mobile cloud is more of a pipe dream, and a novelty toy for the wealthy (the problem is that a lot of tech writers and tech innovators live in this novelty world... and they often forget that).

I happen to think MG is right and that iOS5 is such a big update that they can't release it early summer.
The only thing I think is bunk about what he said was the new tablet device. No new iPad this year unless what he's referring to is some kind if touch screen TV. Sort of a TV/tablet hybrid.

All that cloud stuff should only be an option. They can't force anyone to switch yo having all their data on a server in some field. I want a 64GB iPhone.
As for waiting until the fall , I really hope they still continue to offer incremental updates until then. I think 3.0 only had three updates that really didn't change a thing , 4.0 is almost on the same level.
As for the device , I would be disappointed if it doesn't launch I'm the usual time frame.

I guess I could understand why you'd want that.. and agree that the cloud is hardly a solution for most people. But, I'm thinking about getting a 16GB iPad.... am I just nuts? :)
I currently have an 8GB iPod Touch and have never really crossed about half full. I don't carry that much with me in the way of movies (or need to). I'm curious what is filling up most people's storage on iOS devices (other than movies and maybe photos... both of which I can understand.) Am I missing something where I'm going to kick myself less than a year from now (before iPad3)?

I have a 16gb iPad and a 32gb iPad 2 and sometimes I wish I just kept with the 16gb. Most of the stuff you can do is cloud based to be honest. I use napster for music, netflix for movies, MobileMe for my documents, pictures and home videos. So if you can live like that than you can get by with a 16gb ipad.

Thanks... that's kind of what I'm thinking. More than likely, at the pace this technology in tablets is going, I'll want to upgrade to a newer model in 1 or 2 years anyway. So, paying $hundreds for extra memory on a $500 device that I don't need during that time just takes away from my upgrade funds (when the base model will probably be 32GB or more).
I'm seriously trying to make a list of 'big' things I might want to keep on it that are going to push me over that limit (which I might not be aware of now using my iPod)... but most everything I do is smaller. I do want to keep every Kindle book I own on it, but they are small. I keep mixes of various music, but not my whole collection. Podcasts are my biggest audio space users... but they keep getting deleted. Maybe a movie once and a while for a trip, but I don't need lots, and it is quite optional. The biggest thing I'm thinking will be Keynote presentations. Yes, I use Dropbox, so I've already started moving my stuff into the cloud (though a certain amount will need to be local at any given time).

Depends on how major the release is. They always say that the next installment is major! But idk, I'm thinking we could wait just because the new Mac OS is coming in the summer.

I'll stick with an April Preview & a June/July release along w/the iPhone 5. Just like they always do it. But the release of the iPhone 4 (CDMA) really threw me off. I would've thought they would wait till the iPhone 5.

Apple HAS TO release iPhone 5 and iOS 5 in June. It's how they make their money. It wouldn't make any sense for them not to release a new iPhone every year, as there are so many people that upgrade (me included). I can't wait for that A5 iPhone!

AT&T gives ONLY 2gb... would like some of you try use your iPhone in Argentina where you pay 3 or 4 times the money you pay for the phone, the same with the data paln and we get just, with bad quality 200mb!!!