Component manufacturers have begun to receive orders for Apple Inc.'s iPhone 4S and the production ramp is expected to start in July for an iPhone 4S launch in September/October 2011, Jefferies said in a note to clients.
Our checks and guidance from Catcher Technologies indicate component orders beginning for the iPhone 4S. We could see an upside surprise to September iPhone orders. We believe iPhone units will reaccelerate due to: new lower-cost iPhone, iPhone 4S in the Fall followed by iPhone 5 in June 2012, and more carriers, said Peter Misek, an analyst at Jefferies.
Misek believes the likelihood of the iPhone 5 launch in September including LTE is now remote. According to his industry checks, the device should be called iPhone 4S and include minor cosmetic changes, better cameras, A5 dual-core processor, and HSPA+ support. He believes Apple had hoped for the LTE chipsets to be ready for the September launch as a best-case scenario but was planning a version without LTE called the iPhone 4S.
Apple said in a statement at the WWDC that its iOS 5 is not ready to roll out until fall. Fall sets in, in the third week of September and it refers to a time frame until November end. If Apple gets iOS 5 ready later in the fall, then iPhone 5 will have to take the lag as well.
As expected, the WWDC keynote focused on software and cloud services with mostly me-too capabilities announced. We expect this to be Apple's first round of cloud service announcements with round two in the Fall (likely focused on video) and round three in 2012, said Misek.
Misek expects the launch of a low-cost iPhone in the fall that is targeted at prepaid and emerging markets. He had thought Apple would differentiate the new low-cost iPhone (likely a costed-down version of the 3GS) by not having iOS 5 available for it (he was also concerned that the hardware might not be up to speed).
In addition, Misek believes this fall the iPhone 3GS, 4, and iPhone 4S will be able to run iOS 5, which will be necessary to run the new cloud-based services. This will maintain the unity of the Apple iOS code base, and likely increase low-cost iPhone shipments, but likely greater cannibalization of higher-end iPhones as differentiation is lessened.
Based upon our checks and public comments by Verizon and others, we are in the camp that expects only an incremental iPhone upgrade (iPhone 4S) this September, which includes a dual-core processor and improved imaging. We expect the iPhone 5 to arrive by next January, which will include 4G and can work on both Verizon and AT&T's networks, thus allowing CDMA and GSM based subscribers equal access to the new iPhone, said Scott Sutherland, an analyst at Wedbush Securities.
Sutherland also believes the iPhone 5 will have a materially upgraded user interface and will be tied to a major cloud initiative supported by data centers in North Carolina and California. He believes Apple's cloud strategy will be very important and will take the fight onto Google's turf. He expects increased CDMA distribution, seasonality, and the White iPhone to drive more typical seasonal growth, with an iPhone 5 pop in fiscal second quarter of 2012 (March 2012).
But other analysts are not expecting an iPhone 4S coming in September rather an iPhone 5 is predicted.
As we expected, Apple did not unveil a new iPhone at WWDC; however, we continue to expect iPhone5 in September, said Mike Abramsky, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets.
The company's three major announcements included the Mac OS X update (Lion), the official announcement of iOS 5 for the iPhone and iPad, and the much anticipated iCloud announcement. All three, along with the iPhone5 (in our view) are expected for this coming fall, said Mark McKechnie, an analyst at ThinkEquity LLC.
We continue to believe that Apple will launch a new 3G iPhone in September, which will likely feature a faster processor, a better camera and improved design. We believe that this new phone will be optimized to take advantage of the features in iOS 5. We don't expect an iPhone with 4G speeds until next year, which could be the biggest upgrade cycle yet given its ability to take further advantage of the cloud, said Ben Reitzes, an analyst at Barclays Capital.
Deutsche Bank said in a note to clients that there will be two new iPhone stock-keeping units in October and believes Skyworks Solutions, which makes so-called front end modules for phones, has lost the Wi-Fi front-end module in both. The brokerage said Skyworks have likely lost all 3G content in the iPhone 5.
A fall release of a new iPhone version loaded with iOS 5 can play catch up with the competition that has gotten a lot tougher for Apple. For example, the arrival of Google Inc.'s Nexus 4G would all but annihilate Apple if it still decided to go ahead with iPhone 4. And there is the whole lot of purported iPhone killers like Motorola's Droid Bionic, Motorola's Photon 4G and Samsung's Galaxy S 2.
Anyway we have to wait and watch regarding which iPhone model is going to be released in September or October.