Apple's product release schedule could be thrown for a loop this year. Reports indicate that component shortages and last-minute design changes to the iPhone 5 have pushed back the device launch until September. Not only this, but the iPad 2 looks like it will be hitting the market when the iPhone 5 was previously expected, in June or July.
Fierce competition for limited supplies of key components is also to blame. Apple has a reputation for purchasing large amounts of components such as touch screens with its cash reserves, however the company is not immune to chip shortages. Apparently Apple also has yet to submit iPhone 5 chip orders to some vendors.
Apple is planning to manufacture 100 million iPhone units and up to 45 million iPads in 2011. One advantage to the delay is that Apple will have more time to iron out the details and make sure all of the added features of the iPhone 5 are ready for prime time. The company has been talking to record companies about improving sound quality on iTunes music files, and offering streaming music services.
The iPhone 5 could also include NFC payment functionality and better cloud storage with their MobileMe service. The next generation Apple smartphone is expected to come in white and black, although the white iPhone 4 has yet to arrive. An improved A5 processor and hybrid CDMA/GSM cellular modem chip would mean Apple would produce only one iPhone 5 for both AT&T and Verizon wireless carriers. Other improvements have been rumored although they are less likely, including a larger 4-inch screen.More news to come as Apple works out its release schedule for 2011. For now, it seems that Apple fans may have to wait a little bit longer for new devices this year.