Rumour: Apple iOS5 delayed until autumn

Despite the fact that Apple has never even acknowledged the existence of iOS5, let alone hinted at a release date, a number of tech sites are getting into a bit of a tizzy because of a rumour doing the rounds.

As far as we can tell, TechCrunch started the ball rolling by suggesting that Apple had broken its own unwritten rules by not mentioning iOS5 at the iPad 2 launch.

Traditionally, Steve Jobs rolls out a sneak preview of the next iteration of the mobile operating system in early spring, in advance of a summer launch of new iPhone hardware.

But all is quiet on the Cupertino campus, causing quite a few pundits to go into a bit of a spin. But here's the thing. Apple is notoriously secretive about its launches and it's a tech company. Why on earth would it stick to some arbitrary schedule based on some historical rhythm imagined up by a bunch of tech hacks?

The fact that Apple has regularly launched product A in month B in the past has turned into a law enshrined in stone for those who demand a nice neat cycles.

And it's not just the operating system which is being held up, according to some shrill reports. If iOS5 is being delayed, that also means the iPhone 5 will be late to the party. What iPhone 5? There is no party! It's just stuff made up by people with no real news to write about.

The latest churnings from the rumour mill suggest that iOS5 will be previewed at Apple's World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC) in June but not released until later in the year, possibly autumn. That, at least, may be true.

Currently, Apple's OS roadmap is all about convergence between its mobile and desktop offerings with OSX Lion expected to take many of its GUI cues from the way in which users interact with its mobile gadgets.

It's also hard to find anyhting written about Apple's future direction without mentioning the 'cloud' word, and the Cupertino company's massive investment in server space recently certainly seems to point in that direction.

iOS5 will, according to TC's uncredited sources, will be heavily built around the cloud and may coincide with the release of a new iTunes service with remote media storage.

All we can say for certain is that Apple certainly doesn't design or release products to fit in with the media's time-table and, because of its closed architecture, iOS4 doesn't have to stretch to meet the demands of new hardware in the same way other mobile operating systems do.

In short, we reckon Apple is planning to concentrate on getting OSX Lion up and stable before making major changes to the mobile OS with which it is trying to merge.

So suggesting that iOS5 has been delayed because Apple hasn't said anything about its release is a bit disingenuous to say the least.