A number of reports, which said Apple was planning a new iPhone version with a larger display measuring 4.8-inch, created a buzz in the tech world of late. While some earlier reports bet on a June 2013 release for the device, recent chatter suggested that the launch could be delayed till 2014.
Adding more weight to the latter one, a new report came from MacRumors Wednesday saying that the Cupertino tech giant wouldn’t release the 4.8-inch iPhone model, deemed “iPhone 6,” until mid-2014. The report cited Jefferies analyst Peter Misek, who said that due to issues with display yield and substantial other changes for the handset, a 2013 launch seemed unlikely.
In December last year, Misek reported that a 4.8-inch iPhone was under development and could be released in the summer of 2013. However, the analyst changed his prediction in his latest note and said that Apple had delayed the launch until mid-2014 due to some improvements that are to be made on both the hardware and software of the device.
According to him, there were three “bottlenecks for the iPhone that could contribute to lower yields (and hence higher costs) and/or a delayed launch.” Here’s what Misek had to say (courtesy of MacRumors):
- App processor production at 20nm. Apple’s current iPhone app processor is on 32nm. For the iPhone 6 we think Apple will likely skip over 28nm and go to 20nm to facilitate adding more cores (4 or even 8). While TSMC is targeting a 2014 ramp in its 20nm production we think that issues like double patterning could make it a more complicated transition than the 28nm ramp, which had its own substantial ramp and yield issues.
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- Display shifting from in-cell LCD to on-cell OLED or IGZO. We think in- cell is having difficulty ramping to 4.8”, which is making Apple look at switching to on-cell (a different integrated touchscreen technology) and OLED (despite Apple’s suppliers being well behind Samsung in their OLED capabilities) or IGZO.
- Revamped OS. We think Apple plans to re-architect iOS to utilize more cores and better compete with Samsung. Also, we believe the way iOS interoperates with iCloud, gestures controls, and advertising will be substantially upgraded.
iDownloadBlog reported that Apple recently commissioned Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) to begin trial manufacturing of the A6X processor, found inside the iPad 4. The report also pointed to another report by DigiTimes last month, which said that Apple “contracted out manufacturing of a cutting-edge chip for a ‘breakthrough’ device to TSMC.”
iPhone 5S And Low-Cost iPhone Coming This Summer?
Apart from predicting iPhone 6’s 2014 release, Misek also said that manufacturing of the next iPhone iteration, aka the “iPhone 5S,” would likely begin in March with an expected release date coming this summer.
BusinessInsider reported citing Misek that Apple had cut some iPhone 5 manufacturing as sales of the handset were “decelerating faster than expected”. The analyst said that the company had its build orders to 30 million, down from 40 million.
According to Misek, “Suppliers seemed to be prepping for iPhone 5S builds to start in March” and part of the slowdown in iPhone 5 builds was because of the likely release of iPhone 5S in a few months.
Take a look at Apple’s product roadmap made by Misek:
Rumors have it that the upcoming iPhone 5S will feature a faster CPU/GPU, most probably a new A7 chip. The device may also sport a high resolution camera, which is expected to have a 13 megapixel sensor. While the handset may hold on to the existing two-tone industrial design, it may come in multiple color options.