iPhone 5 panel roadmap missing

Suppliers in Taiwan are suggesting that Apple is dragging its heels on the launch of the iPhone 5, citing shipment volumes of the iPhone 4 stacking up and manufacturers hesitant to move lines over to new products.

It’s possible that a component shortage problem means Apple is forced to wait beyond its usual product cycle refresh. The sources, talking to Digitimes, said that touch panel shipments for the iPhone 4 are ok, but there hasn’t been  a timetable to slow production on the current model yet nor have there been production roadmaps for the iPhone 5.

And there should have been if reports of a 2011 release held weight.

If Apple wants to keep punters interested, it may need a complete redesign to nest it as an innovative and new product, not another runner in the increasingly crowded smartphone market.

Of course, customers loyal to the brand would probably shell out anyway for a “perfected” model a la the iPad 2, but it must live up to its image as a disruptor and innovator if it wants to keep competing.

Traditionally iProducts launch at the beginning of the summer. Perhaps, says Digitimes, a complete overhaul is in the works after all.

There has been some speculation that the iPhone 5 will be a lower-cost model to knock Android competitors from climbing the perch.

Then again, the company that forces engineers to literally shroud themselves when working on prototypes may just be as famously tight-lipped as ever. Interested parties should call Jason Chen and hope he takes you to the pub