iOS 5 Likely Pushed To The Fall After A Cloud Unveiling At WWDC

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Gillmor Gang 3.26.11 (TCTV)

Many people (including myself) were a bit disappointed that Apple didn’t devote any time during the iPad 2 unveiling to talking about iOS 5, the next major revamp of the software. But there may be a very good reason for that: it’s not coming anytime soon. In fact, the plan right now is to wait to launch iOS 5 until the fall, we’ve heard from two solid sources.

If our sources are right, this would break the pattern of Apple unveiling the latest iOS iteration in the early spring, leading up to a summer launch alongside new iPhone hardware. The spring timetable usually reserved for an iOS roadmap event is why some were hoping Apple may just rope the details into the iPad 2 event. When that didn’t happen, rumors quickly spread that there may be another event in April to talk iOS 5 (and MobileMe). But it’s looking like that will not be the case this year.

But it’s not all bad news. Here’s what we’re hearing right now:

  • iOS 5 will launch in the fall and will be a major revamp of the OS.
  • It could well be previewed at WWDC, it just won’t be released then.
  • The iOS 5 launch is also likely to coincide with the release of a new type of iPad, which we previously reported on.
  • The new iOS will be heavily built around the cloud, and we could see several new services launch from Apple that take advantage of this.
  • Yes, one of those is very likely a “music locker” service. There is also a fall launch aim for this, during Apple’s annual music-themed event.
  • But much of the cloud stuff will first be talked about at WWDC, Apple’s developer event which will take place in June.
  • One of the new cloud service elements is likely a location service that focuses on finding friends and family members.
  • As we said yesterday, OS X Lion is still on pace for a summer release — some of the new cloud components are likely to be baked into it as well.

So the next obvious question is where does this leave the iPhone 5? Again, the standard model for Apple has been to release a new iPhone alongside the new iOS version. We haven’t heard anything specifically about the iPhone with this news, but I would guess that it’s still on track for a WWDC unveiling and release shortly thereafter.

Update: Strike that on the iPhone 5. Jim Dalrymple is hearing WWDC will be a software-only and will not include an unveiling of new hardware. We’ve just heard the same thing as well. This morning, Apple formally unveiled the dates of WWDC and the release also points to software being the key. I suspect an iPhone 5 will have to wait until the fall as well, which will keep the hardware and software in line.

That’s all for now, more to come in the coming weeks, I’m sure.

[photo: flickr/vsz]