This year at WWDC, among other things, Apple announced the next generation OS and a cloud based service called the iCloud. The entire session was dedicated to software, so no hints on iPhone 5 from the event.

The long wait for iPhone

It appears that the iPhone 5 is now set toward the end of third quarter, three months behind the usual June release. In many respects, the iOS/iPhone is doing a bit of catch up rather than setting new benchmarks or use cases. Of course, with each upgrade Apple continues to bring its own twists in software and hardware, but not the sweeping changes it had been used to in the past.

For instance, multitasking was introduced only in iOS4 last year. Similarly, the notifications feature will be available only in iOS5 this fall. In fact, both features have been very popular among Android users for quite some time. iOS5 includes 200+ new features, but majority of them are still in the catch-up side.

Technology innovation cycles are getting shorter, and Apple needs to look beyond these once-a-year confabs in bringing frequent software and hardware updates to maintain its pole position in the premium smartphone segment.

iCloud = Cloud Phones ?

“We are going to demote the PC to just be a device” – these are the exact words from Steve jobs as he unveiled the iCloud service. Well, what about the iPhone? Will iCloud be the catalyst for launching entry-tier iPhones? Does the iCloud eventually bring a uniform experience across a broad range of price points? After all, in some parts of the world people value these devices more than their vital organs.

The iCloud is a managed service that runs in the background and supports a broad range of applications and features across their iOS portfolio. Our Wireless Device team has penned a thin-client/cloud-phone concept early last year – clients can access the report here. Cloud phones in its purest form rely on the cloud for demanding jobs with a base hardware profile just enough to run the OS.

Unlike the current crop of entry Android devices, Apple is unlikely to sacrifice the user experience through a lower BOM approach. Although in the current form, the iCloud is unlikely to provide a seamless experience on thin clients, but as the service evolves, it is likely to go well beyond its current offerings in providing enhanced support for lower hardware profiles without risking the user experience.

Yes, an entry iPhone is closer to launch than one might think.

- Bonny Joy