Consumer technology giant Apple's new iPhone will be named the iPhone 4S, but the much-expected iPhone 5 may arrive only in 2012.
Analyst Keith Bachman of BMO Capital Markets believes the new iPhone will be announced in the month of September. We believe with the new iPhone release, Apple will offer 3 models -- iPhone 4S, iPhone 4, and iPhone 3GS. Net, the iPhone 3GS will be the low-end phone, in our view, Bachman said.
Bachman said the September iPhone will be an iPhone 4S, not an iPhone 5, meaning more evolutionary changes than revolutionary changes. He expects the device to feature a better camera and a different case.
We believe the iPhone 5 will launch in mid-2012, Bachman wrote in a note to clients.
Meanwhile, Deutsche Bank analyst Chris Whitmore expects Apple could release two models of the iPhone -- namely the iPhone 5 and iPhone 4S -- this September.
We expect Apple to refresh the iPhone in September, with two SKUs (stock keeping units); namely the iPhone 5 and a lower-end iPhone 4S handset, Whitmore wrote in a note to clients.
iPhone 5 will be the normal refresh of iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S is expected to be targeted at emerging markets or mid-range markets.
Analyst Ben Reitzes of Barclays Capital said the potential 4S model in 2011 will be 3G and feature a faster processor, an upgraded 8MP camera and be optimized for use with the new iOS5.
One of the major benefits of this new product could be expanded carrier relationships in the US and abroad, given the Qualcomm baseband, Reitzes said.
Given that the iPhone 4S will be delivered late in the September quarter, Bachman slashed his September quarter iPhone unit estimates to 17 million from 18 million.
Bachman has also reduced his December quarter iPhone unit estimate to 21.5 million from 22.0 million.
The analyst also lowered his fiscal 2011 earnings estimate to $24.53 from $24.70, compared with consensus of $24.79.
Nevertheless, market analysts expect a near term iPhone refresh will support further share gains for Apple and believes the smartphone OS market to primarily be a 2-horse race between Android and iOS.
We expect the upcoming iPhone / iOS upgrade and channel/carrier expansion to support strong iPhone demand over multiple quarters, said Whitmore who has a buy rating and $450 price target on Apple stock.
iPhone 5 Speculated Features
As many reports are emerging that iPhone 5 will be launched only in 2012, let's take a look at the speculated hot features of iPhone 5:
There have been reports since early this year that Apple is testing iPhone which incorporates Near Field Communication (NFC) technology. NFC technology will enable users to make payments by merely waving the phone near devices which can read the information embedded in the phone.
If Apple equips the next iPhone with NFC, which is considered to be the next wave that revolutionizes mobile and contactless payment technology, it will instantly come on top of the competition. Mobile-payment services using NFC will be a hot segment in the future. However, the absence of an industry standard is impeding wider integration of this feature.
And then it is safe to assume that the iPhone 5 will be a world phone which blends GSM and CDMA capabilities. The purported world phone will make iPhone 5 available on a variety of networks across the world.
AT&T documents leaked by the hacking group LulzSec suggest that Apple iPhone 5 will offer 4G and will be LTE network compatible. LTE, or Long Term Evolution, is the latest standard in the mobile network technology and is a project of the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP). Most mobile carriers in the world have plans to convert their networks into LTE, or 4G as it is often called.
However, some analysts have said an iPhone-friendly LTE chipset could come only in 2012 owing to supply chain issues. Qualcomm is the supplier of LTE chips and they have been facing yield problems of late. It has been widely reported that Apple was unhappy with the first generation LTE chipsets that make bulkier phones.
In all likelihood, iPhone 5 will have an improved flash unit for its camera. It has been reported that Apple has reduced orders for iPhone 4's current LED flash. Earlier, leaked images had suggested that the camera sensor and flash unit would be separated in the new iPhone.
Another feature iPhone 5 will have is stronger gaming capabilities supported by multi-core A5 processor and Imagination Technologies' PowerVR Series6 mobile graphics processing architecture.
An edge-to-edge display seems to be highly likely on iPhone 5, going by the endorsement this idea has got from observers and analysts. It is believed that iPhone 5 will have a 4 inch display, within the same encasement. This will be made possible by a technology that extends display over to the edges of the phone.
There have been rumors about iPhone 5 turning into a social networking tool. If this happens the iPhone 5 is going to become your portable social network.
It was reported earlier that iPhone 5 will have panoramic photo capabilities and 1080p Full HD videos. An iOS code section revealed that the next iPhone will let users take panoramic photos with the photo app.
Last, but not the least, there has also been reports that the next iPhone will be fire-proof and will have glasses-free 3D capabilities.