As you may know, this year will be the first time Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) will release two new iPhone models, including the security-focused iPhone 5S, as well as the company's long-rumored budget iPhone, either called iPhone 6, iPhone Light or perhaps iPhone 5C, given a recently leaked photo of the iPhone’s plastic packaging.
Considering the assumed timetable for Apple's forthcoming hardware and software products, we originally predicted the release date schedule for iOS 7, the iPhone 5S and iPhone 6 to occur between mid- and late-September. However, a new report from KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who has an impeccable record with predicting Apple's product pipeline, said (via MacRumors) the iPhone 5S will release toward the end of September due to supply constraints, while the budget iPhone 6 will see its release date arrive in early September.
Kuo believes Apple will release its low-cost iPhone 6 alongside the fifth-generation iPad, which has reportedly been redesigned to look like the iPad mini. Apple will release the iPhone 6, Kuo believes, at a price between $450 and $550. If Kuo's release date timetable is correct, and if the analyst is accurate more often than not, we need to adjust our own release date timetable for iOS 7, the iPhone 5S and the budget iPhone 6.
iPhone 6: The Math Behind The Release Date Predictions
Here was our original thought process: We believed the release date of the budget iPhone 6 would coincide with the release date of the iPhone 5S, but also the release date of iOS 7, since Apple would never release new software to the public without some new hardware to go with it.
In 2012, the iOS 6 was introduced on June 11 and had its release date on Sept. 19, which was exactly 100 days after its unveiling. We didn't think Apple CEO Tim Cook would want to mess with the successful formula left behind by Steve Jobs, so we initially believed Apple would again follow its familiar iOS release timetable and launch iOS 7 exactly 100 days after its June 10 introduction, on Wednesday, Sept. 18.
With the release date for iOS 7 falling on a Wednesday, we believed Apple would release its highest-end iPhone model, the iPhone 5S, just two days after the release date for iOS 7, on Friday, Sept. 20. In previous years, Apple chose to release its new iPhone just days after the release of its latest iOS, so we again predicted Apple wouldn't break tradition. Regarding the iPhone 6, however, we believed Apple would announce the two new iPhone models together but release them on separate dates to prevent major lines and crowds at its retail stores on Sept. 20. Therefore, we ultimately believed Apple would release the iPhone 6 a week after the iPhone 5S on Friday, Sept. 27.
With Kuo's adjusted release date schedule for the iPhone 5S and iPhone 6, we've come up with some new predictions. If Apple wanted to release the iPhone 6 in early September, it would need to hold a separate event to officially unveil the phone, as well as iOS 7, which usually takes place one week prior to the actual release date of these products. That said, we believe Apple will announce iOS 7, the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 5S at an event that takes place on Tuesday, Sept. 3, which means Apple would release iOS 7 about one week later on Wednesday, Sept. 11.
We still believe the release of iOS 7 will coincide with at least one new iPhone, so we believe Apple will first release its newest and perhaps riskiest smartphone, the iPhone 6, on Friday, Sept. 13 -- we're guessing the executives in Cupertino aren't superstitious about Friday the 13th. With a release date of iPhone 6 on Sept. 13, we believe Apple will give some breathing room for its new phone, which is important since Apple will need to market the phone differently from how it markets its main iPhone line, and it will also need to release the high-end iPhone 5S later in the month, on Friday, Sept. 27. A late release date for the iPhone 5S may negate any reported supply constraints regarding the fingerprint sensor in the iPhone 5S.
iPhone 6 Release Date Coming: What To Expect
The iPhone 6 (or 5C) is expected to be released with most of the same features of the iPhone 5, but fitting them inside a cheaper polycarbonate shell rather than the anodized aluminum unibody of the iPhone 5. Back in January, iLounge editor-in-chief Jeremy Horwitz said the iPhone 6 is a "cross between the iPhone 5, the fifth-generation iPod touch and -- wait for it -- the iPod classic." With its 4-inch screen like the iPhone 5, a tapered bottom like the latest iPod touch and a rectangular shape like the iPod classic, the budget iPhone 6 is said to be substantially made from plastic but feature a hybrid chassis made of both plastic and metal. The right side of the iPhone 6 features a flat, centered SIM card tray like the iPhone 5, with the locations of the camera, microphone and rear flash located similarly to where they were on the latest-generation iPod touch.
We believe Apple will release the iPhone 6 with most of the same specs as the iPhone 5, including a 4-inch Retina display at 326 ppi, an A6 chip, a FaceTime HD camera and an 8-megapixel rear side camera; the 8-megapixel camera has already shown up in allegedly leaked photos of the iPhone 6 components. The major difference between the iPhone 5 and iPhone 6 is said to be its polycarbonate enclosure, as well as its availability in five different colors (red, green, yellow, blue and white), as opposed to the two color options in the iPhone 5.
While Apple tries its best to keep all its products under heavy wraps before they release to the public, the iPhone 6 has been the subject of a great number of rumors and reported leaks. After French site NowhereElse in early July posted several photos that looked like the colorful rear shells of the iPhone 6, M.I.C. Gadget blog’s editor-in-chief Chris Chang posted photos and video of the iPhone 6 on the Techdy Blog that he said came directly from suppliers in Taiwan. Since then, there have been nonstop leaks of the iPhone 6; most recently, an image of the iPhone 6 appeared on Sina Weibo with all its required legal notices from the FCC, which lined up well with all previously leaked photos, leading one to believe that the iPhone 6 is indeed legitimate.
Apple is expected to release the iPhone 6 in all the same markets as the iPhone 5S, but will reportedly aim to drive the iPhone 6 in China, which is Apple’s second-largest market after the U.S. And as proven by Apple CEO Tim Cook’s multiple visits to China this year, Apple badly wants to strike a deal with China Mobile Ltd. (NYSE:CHL), the largest telecommunications carrier in the world with 703 million subscribers, to support the iPhone 6 on its expansive TD-LTE network after its release date this year.
What do you think of the iPhone 6? Would you consider purchasing an iPhone 6 over Apple’s high-end iPhone offering, even if that means sacrificing some key user features to save some money? Do you think Apple will bundle the release dates of the iPhone 5S and iPhone 6 together? Give us your thoughts of the iPhone 6 in the comments section below.