Apple holding out on iOS 5 until fall?

Apple watchers are buzzing about a possible iOS 5 launch this fall, suggesting the company will break from recent tradition and release the new mobile operating system software after its next iPhone.

A TechCrunch report based on information from "two solid sources" says iOS 5 will be a major revamp focused on cloud-based services, including a possible "music locker"  and location-oriented service. Expect iOS 5 to be previewed at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), slated for June.

APPLE IPHONEYS: The iPhone 5 edition

Apple is widely expected to roll out a new iPhone, possibly called the iPhone 5, at WWDC, and there’s speculation that an addition to Apple’s iPad tablet computer line (iPad 3?) might debut in the fall alongside iOS 5. A new iPad might boast a retina display and other new features or size options, going beyond the new iPad 2.

Ever since Apple released the first iPhone in June 2007, the company has provided an iOS preview/roadmap in spring followed by its release with the new iPhone version. While WWDC will be held in June, it will technically still be spring, but the new version of iOS isn’t expected to be available until the fall now.

Apple introduced iOS 4.3 earlier this month, bringing with it Personal Hotspot, faster Safari browsing and iTunes Home Sharing.

Some Apple watchers aren’t so sure Apple will be able to wait until fall to issue its next major iOS update. TiPb writes: "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."

The Phonedog blog says regardless of when iOS 5 comes out, Apple will probably want to launch its next iPhone in the summer to entice current users of the iPhone smartphone to upgrade when their contracts expire.

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