updated 02:16 am EST, Tue March 5, 2013
Host of new hardware features predicted, China model too
New speculation by KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has a new flagship iPhone "5S" model arriving in early summer, alongside a redesigned version often referred to as a "low cost" iPhone because it will be more affordable in instalment payments than the current price of a new iPhone model, and made of cheaper materials. The new iPhone models, he says, will also be compatible with China's TD-DLTE and TD-SCDMA networks, be offered by China Mobile, and will offer a host of new features -- reiterating his earlier predictions.
The full prediction by Kuo reads mostly like a string of educated guesses -- based on some fairly obvious notions (such as the next model being called the iPhone 5S, or that it will work with China's networks) and awareness of Apple's purchases (his claim that the 5S will include a fingerprint authentication chip, based on Apple's buyout of AuthenTec). His claims also include reiterations of his favorite Apple rumors (the phone will include an A7 chip, a lower-cost phone made of fiberglass and aluminum) and a fair amount of pure speculation (the iPhone 5S is claimed to include a slightly larger battery, and together with the cheaper model will sell 93 million units in the first six months).
Where he differs from the general rumor mill is in stating that the iPhone 5S and the low-cost iPhone model will debut together in June, not too long after Samsung brings out its own flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S IV (which will be formally announced this month but may not be widely available until later in the spring). Kuo predicts that the iPhone 5S, in addition to a newer processor and a fingerprint security home button, will also feature a "smart flash" LED that can change color slightly to correct for things like fluorescent lighting or other unfavorable lighting conditions, reports AppleInsider.
The lower-cost model, which would likely be heavier, will also feature LTE but cost sufficiently less for Apple to make that subsidies will allow buyers to pay it off in instalments included in a two-year service contract, which would make it attractive to the Chinese market -- where prepaid phones are still dominant. Contrary to rumors, Kuo believes Apple will not use Qualcomm's latest LTE RF chipset, which includes support for China's network frequencies and other global spectrum -- saying that the chip is for "OEMs who have no capability to design RF front end and [power amplifiers] by themselves." He didn't say how Apple will make the new phones compatible with China's networks in place of Qualcomm's solution.
Kuo contradicts himself slightly by saying that the low-cost iPhone will sell 53 million units in the calendar third and fourth quarter, while mentioning elsewhere that the Chinese version is not likely to launch until the end of the third quarter, much later than the premium iPhone 5S, which he predicts will hit stores in early July. The iPhone 5S, Kuo says, will sell 14 million and 21.5 million units in the second half of 2013. When combined with the rest of the line (which he believes will include the current older models), he predicts total sales of 110 million units -- an increase from the first half of 2013 of 83 percent and a remarkable growth increase, if accurate.