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Three reasons Apple might ship the iPhone 5 in the fall

Will Apple hold off on releasing the iPhone 5 (or as Richard Gaywood amusingly names it, the "4S") until September or early fall? Your guess is as good as ours. And yet, while brainstorming this morning, TUAW staffers noted arguments that had us going "hmmmm."

We've shared them for your consideration. Here are several points that could support a later release date than usual. Or not. What do you think?

Verizon and the White iPhone

With the Verizon iPhone 4 shipping in February '11 and the white iPhone debuting in April '11, it's natural to allow for a breathing space (especially considering the 2-year contracts these units carry) before the next generation of handsets replaces current models. An October shipping date would give those with white iPhones time to enjoy their purchases without temptation from the Next Great Thing.

Holiday sales, back to school, and synchrony

Apple typically updates the iPod line in late summer/early fall. This encourages back-to-school sales and jump-starts the all-important holiday shopping season. By bringing the iPhone into line with its iPod refresh cycle, Apple could better position new iPhone sales so that giving an iPhone for Christmas doesn't feel like you're committing to last year's technology. Kids will still go to school with older models (most schools begin in August, remember) but that has never hurt the positioning of the student-friendly iPod line. Hey, we may even see the iPad join the fall crowd.

Firmware refreshes

Moving the iPhone refresh cycle to the fall provides yet another advantage for cross-iOS unification. That is, it allows Apple to introduce a new iOS beta at WWDC, giving developers time to work towards synchronizing their updates and releases with the hardware refresh. WWDC is a natural time for Apple to present new tech to developers. TUAW's guessing that the iPhone 5 (4S) and iOS 5 will represent more evolutionary than revolutionary changes, but we're always happy to be surprised (and delighted!) by revolutionary Apple innovation.

There is our reasoning for you to examine. What do you think? Speak up.

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