No one really expected new iPhones to be announced at Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference this week, but we are not wrong in saying that there will be a new iPhone… sometime. Some of our latest rumors have the launch pegged for a September release (which is typically when Apple does their fall iPad/iPod events). The iPhone 5S, if that is what it is called, will most likely be an incremental update to the current iPhone 5. While some have hoped for a radical change in the hardware, Apple and company have been so hard at work on iOS 7 that there probably is few resources available develop a radically new phone. Could Apple not releasing a new iPhone now eventually hurt iPhone sales in the future?
For people on Verizon Wireless who purchased the iPhone 4S on launch day, their early upgrade will be available on June 14th, 2013. If no new iPhone is available until September, that leaves several months where a customer could upgrade his or her phone and sign a new two-year agreement. If they are antsy to replace their phone, they will be greeted by an iPhone that is soon to be replaced, or a litany of Android phones.
If that customer were to switch to an Android device, then Apple may lose that customer for the duration of time that that customer is with Verizon. Under new Verizon contract rules, there is no early upgrade option available. In 24 months from now, it will be June once again, and a new iPhone will still be off in the distance. There will conceivably be another large quantity of Android phones to choose from.
On the flip side, if a customer signs a new two year agreement on iPhone 5S launch day, Apple will have the contract working in their favor. Their contracts will expire right when a new iPhone launches, maximizing the time the customer has the newest iPhone.
Will people eligible to upgrade, but without a new enough iPhone on the horizon, cause people to go Android? Time will most certainly tell.