Ming-Chi Kuo, KGI Securities analyst, issued a brand new research note regarding Apple’s roadmap for iOS device releases, specifically the iPhone 5S and the rumored cheaper iPhone. The analyst believes that Apple will be unveiling the iPhone 5S, cheaper iPhone, and iOS 7 all at once in June. The unveiling would follow a July release and Kuo’s research note includes a few interesting ideas.
We expect Apple will introduce its new iPhones and iOS7 in June, and start shipping the new iPhones (5S and low-cost model) in the FDD version in July. Both dates are earlier than last year’s roadmap. We attribute this to: (1) an effort to avoid repeating the fatal mistake of last year of the delayed iPhone 5 launch, which gave competitors room to grab market share; and (2) the new iPhones this year are mainly designed on the basis of the current iPhone 5, which suggests development time could be reduced.
It would be interesting to see Apple launch the new iPhone 5S before iPhone 5 owners have had their contracts for 12 months, causing more customers to pay the unsubsidized price. Although Kuo does note that this early launch would allow Apple to “avoid repeating the fatal mistake of last year of the delayed iPhone 5 launch, which gave competitors room to grab market share”.
[W]e expect the product differentiation between iPhone 5S and iPhone 5 will be: (1) computing power, with iPhone 5S to run on the faster A7 application processor; (2) the camera, with iPhone 5S being equipped with Smart Flash, ensuring photo quality using white or yellow flash according to lighting conditions; (3) iPhone 5S will have a fingerprint chip under the Home button, improving security and usability; and (4) the low-cost iPhone 5 hybrid casing of fiberglass and plastic will make it lighter and slimmer than general plastic casing and easier to make in various colors. However, we still think it will be heavier than iPhone 5S, which will have an aluminum casing. Thus, even form factor will be an area of differentiation.
According to Kuo, the iPhone 5S will obtain the A7 processor, which is basically a given, giving the next iPhone 5S incredible computing power. The device would also be equipped with something called Smart Flash, which would improve photo quality by either flashing white or yellow, instead of the standard white. Finally, Kuo believes that Apple’s acquisition of Authentec in 2012 will finally come into play, by adding a fingerprint sensor under the Home button.
Going on to the rumored cheaper iPhone, the analyst states that Apple will be using a hybrid fiberglass and plastic casing, which would make the device lighter and slimmer. Although the cheaper iPhone would still be heavier than the iPhone 5 and iPhone 5S, he believes the device will be easier to manufacture in various colors.
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