Of course, we still don’t know exactly when the iPhone 5 release date is going to take place, but, we have a pretty good idea about what will not be going down that day when it arrives.
As for the device itself, Apple is expected to announce a device toting 4G LTE data speeds with iOS 6. Those seem to be the only specs that are all but confirmed. Also rumored are a 4-inch display, a thinner design, and a new front-facing camera to go with the new FaceTime over Cellular feature coming with iOS 6.
And while consumers are definitely interested in the hardware and software of the iPhone 5, they’re also wondering about the iPhone 5 release date.
We’ve already told you what we think consumers should expect from the iPhone 5 release date and now it’s time to dig into what not to expect on the day that Apple launches its new iPhone.
August/September Release Date
What better to start with than the actual iPhone 5 release date itself. There have been a lot of rumors pegging the iPhone 5 release date for fall. We expect this to be true.
However, there have been several reports that have claimed that the iPhone 5 release date might have been moved to August or September.
We expect it to launch in October, just like the iPhone 4S did in 2011. As we have said many times over, Apple is a creature of habit and cycles. It has a plan and sticks to it.
For example, the iPad 2 launched in March of 2011. There were rumors circling around about Apple potentially launching the iPad 3 in the fall or early in Q1.Turns out, Apple launched it in March of this year.
Apple has also followed a yearly cycle with its iPhones and we don’t expect the iPhone 5 to be any different.
Any Significant Changes
Again, while Apple hardware isn’t very predictable pre-launch, the way it releases that hardware is. We expect Apple to take the stage this fall, announce a release date for the iPhone 5 and make it available for pre-order soon after the event is over.
We expect Apple, as well as the carriers carrying the iPhone 5 to have the device up for sale online and in-stores on launch day.
That of course is a far cry from Android smartphones like the Galaxy S III that have staggered launches and different online and in-store launch dates.
T-Mobile iPhone 5
While many consumers want an iPhone 5 on T-Mobile, we don’t expect the carrier to be a part of the iPhone 5 carriers, at least not at launch. The reason for this is simple.
The iPhone 5 is widely expected to be 4G LTE in nature, meaning, it will have the ability to connect to a 4G LTE network in order to pull down extremely fast data speeds.
T-Mobile, doesn’t have a 4G LTE network in place and won’t until sometime in 2013. We don’t see Apple releasing a 4G LTE iPhone for a network that won’t exist until several months into the launch.
And we don’t see T-Mobile forking out the money to offer one.
Instead, what we probably will see is the same kind of support T-Mobile has offered in the past.
Currently, there are over a million iPhone users on T-Mobile who take advantage of its 2G EDGE network. T-Mobile has said that it will be optimizing faster networks for those iPhone users and we expect that to be how T-Mobile lures in its iPhone customers without the iPhone 5.
Wide Swath of 4G LTE
We expect the iPhone 5 to launch on three major U.S. carriers: AT&T, Sprint and Verizon. They all carried the iPhone 4S and all three have 4G LTE networks in place. However, those looking to purchase use those 4G LTE speeds with an iPhone 5 should temper their expectations, especially those in rural areas looking to get on AT&T and Sprint.
On the iPhone 5’s release date, we expect Verizon’s 4G LTE network to easily still be on top in terms of marketshare. It currently boasts over 300 markets in the U.S. and shows no sign of slowing down.
AT&T doesn’t have anywhere close to that at the moment and while it supports major metropolitan areas, those in many rural areas will likely not see the network until 2013.
As for Sprint, it has yet to deploy its 4G LTE network. The network will launch in late July in five launch cities and spread after that. Hopefully rapidly.
Point is, we don’t expect AT&T or Sprint to have a large swath of 4G LTE markets by the time the iPhone 5 release date hits. Many users will be waiting until 2013 or even 2014 on Sprint.
A Shortage of Interest
Lastly, there will be no shortage of interest with the iPhone 5 especially if it totes 4G LTE speeds, a new design, or a larger screen. Presumably, it will have at least one of those and that will be enough to send consumers into a frenzy.
So what this means is that those looking to get the phone on its release date will likely want to pre-order when Apple and the iPhone 5’s carriers make that available.
Those that don’t pre-order will be left looking at two options. One, heading down to a physical retail location and dealing with the madness there, or two, waiting several weeks for their order to arrive.
We expect that shipping times will be pushed back on day one of pre-ordering.