The TechCrunch blog started the Apple fanboy world buzzing Sunday morning, when it reported Apple intends to push the release of iOS 5 to a fall release, likely to coincide with the release of an iPad 3. The writer, Apple fanboy extraordinaire MG Siegler, cites multiple “unnamed sources familiar with Apple’s plans” to make the slew of predictions.

If Apple maintains its yearly refresh cycle, it will release an iPhone 5 this year, along with a fifth update to its iOS. Rumors suggest the fifth version of the mobile software is likely to be a major overhaul in the software.

If true, the rumors fly in the face of recent reports that Apple planned to demonstrate iOS 5 in April (as it did with iOS 4 in April 2010) before its launch with the latest iteration of the iPhone, which our own sources reiterate today.

A fall release of the iPad 3 has also been rumored (a rumor widely reported by Siegler), featuring greater hardware capabilities and a potential “retina display.” However, many industry observers believe an iPad 3 in 2011 was essentially squashed when Steve Jobs unveiled the iPad 2, calling 2011 “the year of the iPad 2.”

Don’t put too much stock into this widely distributed report. Our own sources maintain that Apple will host an event in April to unveil new software. The event has been speculated to revolve around an updated Mobile Me service including a music locker, though TechCrunch claims that is also pushed to the fall. However, our sources say the event is still on track, and will feature iOS 5 or MobileMe, or both.

The push to the fall would also be a major departure from Apple’s yearly cycle. New iPhones are introduced in June or July, and the new iOS has been released with it the last four years. A push beyond the traditional date would mean two things: that Apple will release a new iPhone without a software overhaul, or that Apple will hold the iPhone 5 release until the fall: we find both unlikely.

Lastly, the rumored iPad 3 that TechCrunch has been pushing also seems largely fictitious. Last year when the iPhone 4 was unveiled, Siegler posted rumors that lit the internet ablaze that Apple would break the yearly cycle and release iPad 2s in the fall with Face Time cameras to maximize the sales potential for the Holiday season. Guess what? That never happened.

Given that last year there was a legitimate reason to update the iPad line with new hardware and features in time for a Holiday season and Apple declined to do so, and that they have called 2011 the year of the iPad 2, it’s unlikely they break the mold again.

Apple is a secretive and mysterious company, part of the appeal to fanboys, but it also follows a routine. I can’t speak to MG Siegler’s track record with predicting Apple releases, but I can say these predictions don’t match what we’re hearing, and that beyond that dissention in sources, these predictions don’t seem to mesh with moves in the past for Apple.

So take these rumors with a grain of salt; expect that iPhone 5 around the same time as always.

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Jason Woods is a Blast staff writer

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