∞ Thoughts on Apple, the iPhone and WWDC

Editor’s Note: This article was written by Shawn King, host of Your Mac Life

Apple on Monday announced the dates and a few details about the next Worldwide Developers Conference. Not surprisingly, speculation about what Apple will tell those developers reached a fever pitch a scant few hours after the press release was sent out to the media.

[ad#Google Adsense 300×250 in story]Our Much Revered Publisher (He makes us call him that) has come out and affirmatively (and quite authoritatively) said Apple, contrary to past actions, will not announce any iPhone, iPad or Mac hardware updates at WWDC.

However, not everyone agrees. Over at GigaOm.com, Darrell Etherington writes, Will We Really See a Hardware-Free WWDC?. What struck me was his comments about the timing of the next iPhone launch.

He believes Apple will announce a new iPhone at this June’s WWDC. His logic is interesting to say the least.

He writes, “Apple putting off a release this time around would be dangerous: It stands to leave a lot of potential consumers on the table who might jump to LTE Android devices.”

It got me thinking — are there significant numbers of iPhone customers who wouldn’t wait for the next iPhone? I don’t mean people who, for whatever reason, simply don’t like the iPhone — they will likely switch regardless of the next launch date.

We’ve seen several reports, the latest J.D. Power and Associates study is just one of many, showing that iPhone owners are very happy with their devices.

Etherington says, “deviating from its standard release schedule without comment might still lead to an overall erosion of its user base.”

Sure, it might, but I believe it’s highly unlikely that any significant number of customers would hear that Apple isn’t releasing an iPhone this June and decide, “Well, I’ll buy an Android phone instead.”

He correctly states that “customers who bought AT&T 3GS devices at launch are due for renewal this year.” but then goes on to say, “many won‚t wait an additional six months for Apple to come up with new and improved hardware. LTE-equipped 4G Android devices might appeal to a good chunk of those buyers…”

I don’t disagree that a percentage of the iPhone audience would love to have a 4G device but I would argue those people are the small percentage of geeks who even know what 4G is. And while those customers may very well move to 4G capable Android devices, I don’t think the vast majority, or even a statistically significant minority of present iPhone customers are willing to give up their investment — in time, energy and money — they have in the iPhone.

So, here’s the question. How many of you in The Loop Nation will drop your iPhone for a 4G Android device if Apple doesn’t release the iPhone 5 this June?