There have been a lot of rumors about delays with the new iPhones this year, most recently from Qualcomm. If there was ever a year for Apple to get a pass on shipping the iPhone promptly in September, it’s this one.
The question that occurs to me, however, is if there is a delay in hardware, will that also result in a delay in software? In years past, Apple has released the iOS update shortly before the release of new hardware. When I say “shortly,” I’m talking days, not weeks. If the rumors are correct, we are looking at a delay in shipping the new iPhone of a month or possibly more. I can’t help wonder if that will mean a delay in shipping iOS 14 and iPad OS 14 too. If I had to place a bet, I would say they will.
Technically, there’s no reason not to release it early. Throughout the beta period, a lot of us have been running iOS 14 on older generation hardware, and there is no reason technically why they couldn’t just let the older phones have the update a month early.
But there are several good arguments against this. First, over the last few years Apple has had some pretty rocky iOS launches. Why not take an extra month to add some extra spit and polish so that the released version is all the more stable? Second, I always feel like I get a new phone when I install a new operating system. I’m sure for many people who would consider buying the new phone, after spending a month with iOS 14, they may not be as inclined to buy a new phone when it eventually arrives. Lastly, every year Apple holds a bunch of code out of its beta versions of the new operating system. The final version includes additional references, code, and sometimes even apps specific to the new iPhone. If they release the final version, I guarantee you that smart folks all over the planet will take it apart and figure out even more details of the new iPhone before Apple wants you to hear about them.
While Apple may release iOS 14 much earlier than the new phones, I would be surprised if they do.