The iPhone 5 will come in the unibody form Apple uses in its Macbooks, an analyst predicts.
A Wall Street analyst has said that the Apple would release two phones -- iPhones 5 and a cheaper iPhone 4S -- at its upcoming event, expected for Oct. 4.
We continue to expect 2 new iPhone SKUs (a mid-range iPhone and iPhone 5) to be introduced at Apple's upcoming event, Deutsche Bank analyst Chris Whitmore wrote in a note to clients.
Specifically, we expect an iPhone 5 with aluminum uni-body construction, better camera and slightly larger screen size as well as a cost-down iPhone 4, or iPhone 4S, Whitmore wrote.
On its Macbook Pros and Macbook Airs, Apple uses the unibody construction method, which allows for a consistency of production and reliability by reducing many moving parts to one part. Also, it makes the product thinner and stronger.
Speculation is that the iPhone 5 will have an 8-megapixel camera, a dual-core A5 processor with a clocking speed of at least 1.2GHz and a 4-inch display. Apple's iPhone 5 would also feature the new iCloud service in operating iTunes for wireless remote access of music from all computers and mobile devices. iPhone 5 would be running on iOS 5, which Apple would be releasing this fall.
On the other hand, the analyst said iPhone 4S should help Apple drive greater penetration into the mid-range smart-phone market and drastically expand Apple's addressable market. He also said that iPhone 4S is nothing but an 8 GB iPod Touch with a radio frequency module.
Whitmore believes that Apple can produce the iPhone 4S at volume with a sub $150 bill-of-material cost, giving it flexibility to drive volume, margins and share.
An aggressive push into the mid-range will essentially double Apple's iPhone addressable market in the near term and position it for more share gains in the 700 million-plus unit smartphone market by 2014.
We believe Apple can achieve a BOM cost near ~$150 for a cost-reduced iPhone 4 (vs. our prior estimate of $165) aided by a favorable commodity environment and scale advantages. The lower BOM means Apple can aggressively price a mid-range iPhone to drive volume without sacrificing margins, Whitmore said.
The analyst added that even if Apple prices iPhone 4S between $300 and $350 (unlocked without a contract), it could still generate healthy manufacturing margins of more than 50 percent.