"The greatest truths are revealed, in the silence of the mind." - Me

Friday, September 30, 2011

Reasons for the long iPhone 5 delay EXPLAINED!

As of 10:00 a.m. PST on Tuesday October 4th, few will still be asking the question “Why?” in terms of the long strange wait we’ve had on the road to the imminent release of Apple’s next piece of equipment. However, as we salivate over the coming day and wish we all had the ability to juice our Dolorean’s to 88 mph, I thought it might be a good idea to take a look back at the many possible scenarios that did, in fact, lead to the most documented wait in recent history (second only to the lines that awaited The Phantom Menace prior to its release!).
While we may never know exactly which scenario (or which parts combined) ultimately led to our 14+ month wait between the 4 and the 4S/4G/5/, we can look back with angst at the many possible end of the world scenarios that brought us to where we are today.
Natural disasters
Along the road to the iPhone 5, we’ve seen Mother Nature throw everything from Tsunami’s, to Earthquakes, to explosive Taiwanese plant fires, and many combinations of three at once in the way of iPhone production. Back when we all still had hopes that the new phone would release in June/July, this scenario seemed the most likely culprit for the delay. It’s highly implausible at this point that this scenario caused this long of a delay, but many are still pointing fingers.
  Verizon’s contract
Despite the fact that Verizon’s CEO would like us to believe that big red was expecting a new iPhone in July, there is certainly a possibility that Apple signed away the right to release a new phone until the fall. This would give Verizon a little time between their launch of the iPhone 4 and the new handset. Because, let’s be honest, the guy who buys the 4 a few days/weeks/months before the 5 comes out is going to be ticked.
New Carriers
Sprint will more than likely get the iPhone 5. China is also set to see explosive (sorry Foxconn) iPhone growth. Just as Verizon ran around screaming “We finally got the iPhone,” in February, Apple has supposedly been in talks with multiple new carriers for their upcoming phone. It is certainly possible that, from a marketing stand-point, Apple held off on the release of their hotly-desired product in order to execute a massive, multiple carrier launch, the likes of which we have never seen.
Long Term Evolution
How could three little words cause so much uproar? It’s well established that Apple has a track record for shunning new bandwidths until they make a significant splash on the everyday Joe. Still, many prognosticators believe that Apple held out for so long to ensure that their new phone would be “really and truly” 4G. With recent rumors suggesting that the next phone will “only” be HSPA+, we’ll have to wait until Tuesday to see if this could have been a factor. Either way, we all know that Tim Cook was not impressed with LTE just a few months ago… could technology have caught up with Apple’s strict standards during our wait?
Production Delays
Throughout the long gestation period of iPhone development, there have been rumors of various production delays. Several weeks back it was reported that the A5 chip, which is all but confirmed to be in the new phone, was overheating prototype models. Included in this are the many various legal battles that Apple is going through with frenemy Samsung, who produces the chip. More recently, it was reported that one of the smaller companies that produce screens for the new phone has experienced an issue with “bubbling” on the screens. This particular piece of news, however, is unlikely to delay the phone.
Perhaps the A5 could be the issue that we’ve all pondered over. More likely, however, it would not have delayed production for as long as we’ve seen. So, let’ look at the reasons I, myself, tend to lean towards.
  Steve Jobs’ one last thing
For as excited as Apple fanboys have been at even the idea of a new iPhone, we have been just as saddened by the unfolding tragedy that likely will be Steve Job’s final days. Not that his life has been a tragedy… FAR FROM IT. He is certainly one of the great American success stories that children will be reading about (on their school issued iPads!) in the near future. However, as it has been talked about all over the media… Steve has not been doing well.
We, as the consumer public, possibly didn’t understand just how poor his health was until the public resignation letter was issued, but let’s face it, Steve didn’t just wake up and decide that he couldn’t keep going… both he and Apple knew that that day was coming from miles away. This is why in his resignation letter, Jobs mentioned, “executing our plan” to make Tim Cook CEO.
For as much as people want the iPhone 5 to be the exclamation point on iSteve’s legacy… we often overlook the fact that IF this is his swan song, there would have to be more hardship on the road to this landmark than he has faced since he was reinstated as CEO. Steve’s rapidly declining health likely put Apple in a spot where they were forced to be real with life/death issues and not only map out a product roadmap, but a COMPLETE LEADERSHIP roadmap that accounted for the inevitable.
  The Tim Cook effect
Following the logic from the last piece, if Apple knew that Steve Jobs would not have the same role he has had in the past, then it is highly likely that one part of the transition process would be to ensure that Tim Cook was allowed to come out blazing. After all, just as pundits watched to see how far Apple’s stock would dip after Jobs’ resignation, so too are those same people… and all the rest of the world… looking at this announcement with shivering hearts (a term that Swedish musicians Blindside say is very meaningful when properly translated into their language).
The simple fact is this; if Tim Cook opens up a can of fail… heck, even if he opens up a can of “just a little better,” many will be ready to write off not only the iPhone, but Apple as well. Now, we all know that knee-jerk reactions like this often don’t last long… but Apple has a public reputation almost unheard of in corporate history, and I doubt they’re willing to put that reputation on the line. And that, my friends, means longer R & D to produce a more meaningful product.
Because Apple knows that both Tim Cook and the iPhone banner need to be raised high at this coming event… even if they let Steve give us… “one more thing.”

So why have we had to wait so long for the iPhone 5? Maybe we’ll know Tuesday. Maybe we’ll never know. We probably won’t care too awful much after next week. But for what it’s worth, these are some of the many reasons why we haven’t had a 5th generation iPhone in our pockets for the past 3 months.