Apple sets date for annual WWDC, but will it break its tradition of launching new iPhone?

by Knowlton Thomas | Apple

Apple recently announced it will hold its annual Worldwide Developers Conference from June 6 to 10. It will be hosted at the Moscone West convention centre in San Francisco. Passes, which are expected to sell out again, cost $1600 USD.

"At this year's conference we are going to unveil the future of iOS and Mac OS," said Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. "If you are an iOS or Mac OS X software developer, this is the event that you do not want to miss."

But rumours suggest that this year's WWDC won't stick true to tradition—that is, it won't be launching the next-gen iPhone, despite months of bubbling interest over a larger screen, NFC capabilities, and a smaller, cheaper "Nano" or "Mini" version.

Apple's WWDC event, which holds dozens of tech sessions for developers and has hundreds of Apple engineers offering support, has always been punctuated by its iPhone launches. But inside sources claim that an iPhone 5 may not come all the way until 2012, and that Apple's highlights at this year's event will be more focused on software, namely the iOS and forthcoming Lion Mac OS X.

The Loop's Jim Dalrymple reported that Apple will how off no new hardware, while Apple itself—though not dismissing hardware—did proclaim a focus on its operating systems.

Then again, Apple can be tricky with surprises. But its words seem backed up Japanese blog Macotakara, which states that based on the current status of part production for the iPhone 5, a summer launch is far too soon. And MacRumours noted that a Chinese source with a solid track record of accurate rumours says parts manufacturing for the iPhone 5 haven't even begun, leaving a 2011 launch of any sort out of the question.

Apple has historically been quite consistent with its product cycles, but more recently the company seems willing to deviate from these cycles and either delay or launch early new products. Perhaps to be less predictable for competitors, perhaps to keep consumers on edge, perhaps both, perhaps neither. Regardless, an iPhone 5 at 2011's WWDC seems a fairy tale at this point.

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Knowlton Thomas

Knowlton Thomas

Knowlton is the managing editor of Techvibes and author of Tempest Bound. Based in Vancouver, Knowlton has been published in national publications and has also appeared on television and radio. Previously he was an editor for New Westminster weekly The Other Press and served on its board of directors. When not working, Knowlton enjoys hiking, tennis, and martial arts. more

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