While speculation in recent months has run in every direction about when Apple's iPhone 5 will be released and what new features and design the product will have, a new report suggests the company will do what many did not expect -- releasing two new iPhone handsets next month.
J.P. Morgan's Mark Moskowitz said in a note to clients Monday that his research has turned up the expectation that Apple will release two new iPhones in the coming weeks, including an iPhone 5 based on a lighter, thinner form factor and a second device, an iPhone 4-plus, based on the current iPhone 4 that has some minor improvements and will be less expensive than the iPhone 5.
The iPhone 4-plus is expected to be used by Apple in targeting China, along with cellular-compatible iPad 2 models that will be sold in the country.
Our research indicates Apple could release an iPhone 4-plus, targeting one or more China network carriers, wrote Moskowitz in the research note, according to Fortune. While we think a China-focused iPhone could be in the works, it is not likely to be exclusive to the region.
Moskowitz also discussed Apple's anticipated new iPad in his research note, suggesting that the company was in no rush to replace existing models amid tepid competition -- despite the fact that Amazon is expected to release its first tablet in October.
Reports from earlier this year suggested that Apple wanted to release a new iPad before this holiday season but now it appears the company will focus on its two new iPhones -- and growth in China for the new iPhones and current iPad models.
Apple is apparently closer to launching its iPad 2 tablet with cellular network compatibility for the first time in China, and the company is also embarking upon an aggressive expansion in the fast-growth market, opening its first retail store in Hong Kong while adding another in Shanghai.
The new stores in China are expected to be open in late September -- a sign the highly-anticipated iPhone 5 smartphone launch is likely coming in October from Apple.
Also, Apple has been issued a network license from China's Telecommunication Equipment Certification Center so the company can begin selling its iPad 2 with cellular network capability in the country.
Apple sells the 3G iPad 2 in Hong Kong, but currently sells only Wi-Fi versions of the tablet in mainland China.