Every year just prior to when its generally felt a new iPhone is on the horizon we start to get rumors that this new - though unannounced - iPhone is facing a delay. Generally the rumor is tied to some new - and also unannounced - bit of technology that would make this year's iPhone better, faster, stronger, or just plain geeky cooler than the one before. It could be new type of display or a new authentication technology, a new material or new radio part. Doesn't seem to matter. If you sit by the internet long enough, the body of the rumor will stream by.
And it's not without reason. Apple pushes the limits. I've said it before and I'll say it again, no other company in the world could have manufactured the iPhone 5 last year. Not only did Apple design it, they designed a lot of the equipment needed to make it, and they did it for a single device intended to sell in the hundreds of millions.
For all the bitching about "boring, still a phone!" Apple rebuilt the iPhone 5 pretty much from the atom up, and they didn't do it because they had to. They did it because they wanted to. They like the idea that the stuff they make isn't only hard to make, but nearly impossible to make. It's why it took other companies years to reproduce anything approaching a MacBook Air. Something financially, computationally, or temporally hard to make can also sometimes be harder still to replicate. (iOS 7 is the same approach applied to software.)
That attitude, however, that willingness to push limits and boundaries and create new things not because they have to but because they want to is hard and is expensive in multiple ways. Living on that edge is thus dangerous to budgets, timelines, and resources.
Which is why Apple tends not to pre-announce, and on the rare cases they do - like with the new Mac Pro or iOS 7 - they give very non-specific, non-commital timelines. Sure, there are internal measures they set for themselves, but those are internal measures. Apple tends not to saunter but to sprint towards finish lines, to run flat out until the last possible moment. But what's the alternative, to strive for less, to make less, to do less?
Making new things means being subject to and dependent upon innumerable, chaotic conditions and factors. It's why Apple has the leadership and teams they do, including Tim Cook, and why they have multiple suppliers, windows of opportunity for launch, and all sorts of other mechanisms built in to ensure they can keep doing it year after year, product after product.
And it's why, year after year, product after product, we get rumors of this or that component shortage or manufacturing problem, and always, every time, incessant repetition of the word delay. Delay. DELAY!
So if someone wants to strap on their Apple is doomed pants and scream DELAY across the internet, and work up a market that should know better but keeps getting manipulated anyway, that's fine. There'll be a new iPhone this year, just like there was a new iPhone last year.
The truth is, only Apple can doom Apple, and one of the signs that would presage that happening is the DELAYED! rumors coming to a stop.