Citing mobile operators, the French-language Magazine Challenges is reporting that the next-gen iPhone will launch in May, which would mark a deviation from Apple’s pattern of introducing a new iPhone model in late June/early July.
Apple’s change of heart was reportedly a result of its efforts to prevent the Nexus One, and other Android handsets, from collectively providing an attractive alternative to the iPhone – and in the process, chip away at some of Apple’s luster and growing marketshare.
The iPhone is still the top smartphone on the market, but there’s no doubt that competitors are continuously closing the gap. But if history is any barometer, you can bet that Apple will once again raise the bar whenever it happens to release the 4th gen iPhone. Naturally, the Apple Tablet is poised to take the world by storm in just a few weeks, and as a result, news regarding the next-gen iPhone has been uncharacteristically slow to trickle in. Still, there are some clues about what features Apple has been working to implement.
One thing we can expect to see is a 5 megapixel camera with LED flash. Also, there have been reports that Apple is toying with the idea of putting an RFID reader (Radio-Frequency Identification) into the next iteration of the iPhone. Among other uses, an RFID reader would potentially enable iPhone owners to pay for goods simply by swiping their device over a payment pad.
To be clear, though, an iPhone launch in May is just a rumor, and now might be a good time to remind you of another rumor which has Apple scheduling its annual WWDC event for the dates of June 28 to July 2. The WWDC Keynote is rumored to take place on June 29th, which just so happens to be the date the original iPhone went on sale. Reading between the lines, Apple’s exclusive contract with AT&T is believed to be up in 2010, a fact which would then pave the way for Apple to launch a CDMA version of the smartphone during WWDC.
So maybe, just maybe, the 4th gen iPhone will launch on AT&T sometime in May, while Apple will use the WWDC keynote to announce the end of its exclusivity agreement with AT&T.