Wednesday, March 2, 2011
iPhone 5 is a summer release after all
Any doubt about the iPhone 5 release schedule was just cleared up by Verizon, perhaps inadvertently, and rather oddly on the eve of a major unrelated product announcement from Apple. Verizon is currently trying to lure iPhone users away from AT&T, and one of the major stumbling blocks is the fact that many longtime AT&T iPhone users are grandfathered into unlimited data plans, which AT&T stopped offering to new customers awhile ago. Verizon has attempted to work around that by offering an unlimited data option for the Verizon iPhone 4. But in an attempt to keep its own data network from being blown up by the iPhone influx, Verizon announced today that unlimited data plans will no longer be available to new iPhone customers as of this summer. It’s an obvious ploy on Verizon’s part, attempting to convince wavering consumers to go ahead and take the plunge on the Verizon iPhone 4 now instead of waiting for the Verizon iPhone 5. But by using the magic word summer, Verizon just all but confirmed that the iPhone 5 will in fact be a summer release. Oops.
Every new iPhone generation has been released in the summer, so smart money has always been on the iPhone 5 doing the same. But with the Verizon iPhone 4 oddly arriving in the winter, some saw that as a shift which would then see the iPhone 5 become a later release, if not for both carriers than perhaps solely late arriving on Verizon. But in its attempt to get potential Verizon iPhone 4 buyers to not wait for the iPhone 5, the carrier just gave away one of Apple’s most obvious secrets. Verizon would actually have given away less by simply saying that unlimited data plans will only be available for as long as the Verizon iPhone 4 is on the market, or even by flat-out saying that they’ll go away when the iPhone 5 arrives. But by using the word summer, even without mentioning the fact that there will be an iPhone 5 or even admitting that the Verizon iPhone 4 will someday be discontinued, Verizon just gave away information on a product which Apple is still hoping most consumers won’t figure out exists. And if consumers can put two and two together, Verizon’s inadvertent confirmation that the Verizon iPhone 5 will arrive sooner than later could end up motivating more consumers to wait, rather than dive in – except, of course, for those who consider unlimited data plans more important than having their hands on the latest iPhone model. Then again, nothing says consumers can’t buy a Verizon iPhone 4 now, get onto the unlimited data plan, and then move to a Verizon iPhone 5 when the time comes. That is, if they’re willing to live with the ensuing upgrade pricing snafu.
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