Another rumor coming from the AllThingsD blog suggests that Apple's fabled device, the iPhone 5, is due for an October release.
The Apple iPhone 5 has become the muse of media, and has spawned a plethora of rumors over possible features and specifications. And while Apple continues to maintain a tight-lipped approach to iPhone 5, analysts from major research firms have continued to stoke iPhone 5-related expectations.
Here is a list of forecasts from top analysts about the iPhone 5's release date and its expected hardware specifications:
Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster, in a research note in May, commented that Apple will ship the iPhone 5 in September. Munster based his forecast on Apple's pattern of announcing iPhone hardware 79 days after introducing its iOS software. Also, Apple tends to maintain an average of 99 days between the software announcement date and the actual date of shipping. Based on these historical averages, with Apple having introduced its iOS 5 at WWDC on June 6, the most probable date seems to be Aug. 24 for the announcement of the iPhone 5's release, with a shipping date of Sept 13.
Jefferies & Co. analyst Peter Misek in May forecast that Apple will forgo LTE functionality in the upcoming iPhone 5 due in September. The reason cited for non-inclusion of LTE is due to Qualcomm LTE chipset -- which was supposed to go into the iPhone -- limitation, which failed to achieve sufficient yields.
He also stated that Apple will release iPhones for Sprint, T-Mobile and China Mobile.
Misek also confirmed that upcoming iPhone will be called iPhone 4S and will include minor changes rather than revolutionary hardware. Upgrades include better camera, A5 dual-core processor and HSPA+ support.
Concord Securities analyst Ming-Chi Huo citing supply chain sources claimed that the upcoming iPhone 5 will feature minor changes to the design. Major overhaul will take place under the hood. Huo expects iPhone 5 to feature an 8MP camera, A5 processor and Qualcomm dual mode GSM/CDMA baseband.
Huo expected that iPhone 5 will go into trial production in August and mass production in September. It will finally hit the shelves by October.
Deutsche Bank analyst Chris Whitmore surmised that Apple will launch two iPhones - a cheaper iPhone called iPhone 4S and the real deal with super specifications under the name iPhone 5. Whitmore said: "With Nokia and RIMM struggling, the time is right for Apple to aggressively penetrate the mid range smart-phone market (i.e. $300-500 category) to dramatically expand its [total addressable market] and market share."
The Deutsche Bank analyst believes that the iPhone 4S will be priced at $349 as an unlocked model and will come with a pre-paid voice plan.
Bernstein Research analyst Toni Sacconaghi cited that Apple will not adopt NFC-based mobile payment feature to the upcoming iPhone 5 until Apple is convinced that the technology's chicken-and-egg-problem is solved as the NFC requires widespread consumer adoption and critical mass with merchants. All ThingsD quoted Sacconaghi who wrote: "We do not expect the iPhone 5 to feature an NFC-based payments solution, and instead expect Apple will evaluate and come to market with partners or a complete solution later, perhaps when NFC infrastructure is more established. We note that Apple did not release the first cloud-based music offerings, or the first 3G or LTE handsets, and entered mobile advertising only after Google bought AdMob-instead, the company has made its name from re-inventing MP3 players, smartphones and most recently tablets/netbooks, and would retain the option to eventually do the same with mobile payments."
Gleacher & Company analyst Brian Marshall lowered iPhone sales expectation for 2011 from 80 million units to 75 million units in June. Marshall revised the figures after he anticipated that there will be no iPhone refresh in summer. In fact, Marshall believes that Apple would release a 4S version in the second half of 2011 and an LTE-enabled iPhone 5 in the first half of 2012.
BMO Capital Markets analyst Keith Bachman predicts that the iPhone 5 will be launched in mid-2012 and Apple will release an iPhone with minor updates in September. In May, Bachman wrote that Apple's iPhone launch in September will be "evolutionary not revolutionary". He expects that the next iPhone will have a better camera and different casing but will come without 4G or LTE.
Ticonderoga Securities analyst Brian White also believes that iPhone 5 will be launched in September. He bases his argument on the fact that Apple released the white iPhone 4 to plug the gap created by the delay in iPhone 5's release. White states that iPhone 5 launch has become more a function of marketing and sales than technical. He also stated that consumers tend to forgo purchase of an iPhone in the quarter prior to the next iPhone release. However, Apple has been able to control this aspect by releasing the white iPhone 4.
Wedbush Securities analyst Scott Sutherland 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).