Hours after a Nokia exec claimed that the next version of Windows Phone, codenamed Apollo, will be released in mid-2012 (roughly one year after Mango), sources within Microsoft denied that this was the case.
Michael Halbherr, Executive VP for Location and Commerce at the Finnish company, told Engadget (opens in new tab)that the next major iteration of Windows Phone was going to be a "very different game" to Mango.
This means that Apollo will almost certainly be Windows Phone 8 (Mango was Windows Phone 7.5) and could be a hint that Microsoft is potentially aiming for a combined launch (or at least two very close together). This would make sense if Windows Phone 8 has vital features that can be exploited only with Windows 8, and vice versa.
We also dare to expect that Apollo will be the first Windows Phone OS to feature a significantly enhanced gaming experience compared to its predecessors.
Halbherr also claimed that he wants Microsoft to integrate NFC and a positioning framework that will help the successor of Mango "work better" with Nokia's own Navteq mapping provider.
It seems therefore that Nokia wants to have a greater input into Apollo than the rest of the competition, which is understandable given that Nokia is ONLY focusing on Windows Phone.