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AT&T: No New iPhone Before August

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As March came to a close, Apple secured the date for its annual Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco. Running from June 6 through June 10, the event has an air of intrigue -- as it always does -- after Cupertino's senior vice president Phil Schiller fanned the flames of anticipation. "At this year's conference we are going to unveil the future of iOS and Mac OS," Schiller said in a statement. "If you are an iOS or Mac OS X software developer, this is the event that you do not want to miss."

And if history has taught us anything, we should expect to see Apple's next smartphone -- the iPhone 5 -- unveiled to a crowd of drooling bloggers.

But since then, more rumors and reports swirled that Apple will break tradition and hold the iPhone 5's release until the fall. Jim Dalrymple at The Loop and his sources claim that Schiller's focus on software in his announcement "closed the door on any speculation that [Apple] would announce new hardware" at WWDC.

And now, a new report from MacRumors appears to ensure that we won't have an iPhone 5 in our hands until August at the earliest.

A reader sent in a correspondence he had with an AT&T representative. After noticing his eligibility date for an iPhone upgrade was pushed back by over five months, he contacted the carrier for information. A representative responded with:

"Apple has informed us that they do not plan to release the iPhone in the June to July timeframe, though there will be a newer version in the future. Unfortunately, we have not been given a release time for the new phone. We will release this information on our website when it is available to us."

MacRumors addressed its usual skepticism about information provided by customer-facing representatives of Apple or associated companies, "as those employees are essentially never provided with that level of information ahead of any official announcement." But given the specificity of the response, the claim doesn't sound out of the question.

While there's still a chance Apple would show off a device that won't reach the public for another two months, it's extremely slim. But with the two-three month delay, that means the company is willing to risk a summer of more Android releases and a shrinking market share to design the new model. Since new iPhones are guaranteed hits, it's surprising that Steve Jobs and Co. are holding off on cashing in.

However, perhaps Apple is planning on revealing just enough features in the new iOS version keep consumers from straying to Android -- or, heaven forbid, BlackBerry and Windows Phone 7. Near-field communication? Online digital locker? Another revolutionary feature we could never expect?

Maybe there needn't be hardware at all.

(See also: Will iPhone 5 Be Unveiled June 6? and Apple Lags in Market Share, Leads in Profit Share)
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