Research In Motion (RIM) has delayed the release of its new 3G BlackBerry device, with industry observers saying the moves caused by fear of Apple.

Apple is expected to introduce its 3G iPhone in June, the month in which RIM had originally scheduled launch of its new product, code-name Meteor. Rather than launch a product to a wave of inattention, with all eyes on Apple, RIM now claims technical snags in the new device have caused its delay until August.

A RIM spokeswoman took a note from the Apple PR book in its response to these speculations, saying the company does not discuss unannounced products or comment on “rumours and speculation.”

The company is also expected to introduce a touch-screen 3G BlackBerry 9000 later this year that competes directly against iPhone.