Apple surprised the tech world by releasing the iPad 4 just seven months after the launch of its third generation iPad in March. Now, if a new research note by one Wall Street analyst is to be believed, the Cupertino-based tech giant is expected to make yet another swift update by releasing its upcoming smartphone model, unofficially dubbed the “iPhone 5S,” as early as June 2013.
Jeffries analyst Peter Misek said in a research note on Monday that with the release of iPhone 5S in June, Apple would break from the iPhone release pattern that it has established over the last couple of years. While the original iPhone, the iPhone 3G, the iPhone 3GS and the iPhone 4 were launched in a June/July time frame, Apple broke the momentum by releasing the iPhone 4S and iPhone 5 in the September/October time frame.
Here the question arises -- why would Apple want to get back to the mid-year launch for its flagship smartphone? Although Misek didn’t provide a specific answer, another analyst, Horace Dediu of Asymco, attempted to give an explanation.
Apple experienced a significant drop in sales two quarters prior to the launch of the iPhone 5 as customers held back on purchases because they knew that a new device was going to be released.
“Too many potential buyers are now conditioned to wait for fall to buy iPhones, thus sapping demand for half the year. Apple ends up with an inability to meet demand for half the year and a sales lull for the other half,” Dediu said.
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That’s the reason Apple now wants not to load all its sales into one half of the year. Although speeding up product releases might make customers skip product generations, it would stabilize the company’s sales numbers while keeping products new and competitive, according to Dediu.
Significant Hardware Upgrades
Misek also made a number of interesting claims regarding the features of the iPhone 5S. The analyst said that the next generation iPhone would come with a number of hardware upgrades, including a "super HD camera/screen, a better battery, and NFC.” Other possible new feature could also include an IGZO screen for Retina+, 128GB storage and multiple color options with 6 to 8 colors in addition to the current black and white offerings.
Misek went further and said that a number of different iPhone 6 prototypes were circulating.
“Several iPhone 6 prototypes appear to be floating around. The model with a 4.8" screen is the most interesting,” Misek added. “It has a Retina+ IGZO screen, a new A7 quad-core processor variant, and a new form factor with no home button. Full gesture control is also possibly included.”
In addition, the analyst talked about a low-cost iPhone model, which, he said, was "not greenlit yet.” However, he stated that the price of the device could be in between $200 and $250 without a service contract, and it could be launched in 2013.
"Our checks indicate a low-cost model would be a retooled iPhone 4 with a scaled-down modem, apps processor, etc.," Misek said. "Foxconn International Holdings already has a supply chain for capacity scaling up to 200-300K units per day."
Fifth Gen iPad In Summer, iTV In Next Fall
As far as the fifth generation iPad is concerned, Misek believed that it would also be launched around June next year. The device would feature an IGZO display and it would be much thicker and lighter, compared with the existing model.
When it comes to the long rumored Apple television set, dubbed “iTV,” Misek said that the device could be launched in September or October next year.
"ITV prototypes are also floating around," Misek said. "Gesture and voice control along with a new user interface are the main innovations."
Considering Misek’s track record of iPhone-related prophecies, his latest predictions seem trustworthy. Before the launch of the fifth generation iPhone, when everyone was calling for an iPhone 5, it was Misek's prediction that the then-new phone would be an iPhone 4S that eventually turned out to be true.
However, given that things are very murky now and it is too early to settle on a specific date for the release of the next-gen iPhone, readers should take every rumor with a grain of salt. Misek successfully predicted an iPhone 4S, but he did get other predictions wrong, such as a thinner IGZO-based iPad for the third generation of the device earlier this year.