Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) will likely introduce at least one new iPhone this year, but rumors continue to swirl over exactly when the phone will go on sale and what exactly it will offer.
According to a report from the Taiwanese newspaper The Commercial Times, Apple may delay the launch of the next iPhone, likely called the iPhone 5S, until the end of the year due to design changes, including the addition of a larger, 4.3-inch Retina display. The report, according to Bloomberg, said that Apple had previously scheduled the release for September or October. Additionally, the report said a cheaper version of the Apple iPhone is expected by the end of the third quarter. Apple increased the screen size of the iPhone last year for the first time, giving the iPhone 5 a 4-inch display.
However, Jefferies analyst Peter Misek wrote in a research note that, according to checks in Apple's supply chain, the next iPhone won't be delayed and the company's manufacturing partners will start production of the iPhone 5S later this month. AllThingsD, citing unnamed sources familiar with the company's plans, confirmed Misek's report. Misek also wrote that production of Apple's lower-cost iPhone is also underway, and he thinks Apple will price the device somewhere between $300 and $400 without a carrier subsidy.
An Apple spokeswoman declined to comment.
Apple CEO Tim Cook obliquely addressed the issue of multiple iPhone variants in late May at AllThingsD's D11 conference. "We haven't (released low-cost variants) so far. That doesn't shut out the future," he said. "It takes a lot of really hard work to do a phone when you manage the hardware and software and services in it. We've put our focus on doing that right. We haven't been focused on working multiple lines."
As for current iPhone sales, Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty wrote that she thinks Apple could surprise with second-quarter iPhone shipments of 29 million, above the consensus Wall Street estimate of 26.5 million. Apple shipped 26 million iPhones during the year-ago period.
"Demand data from our AlphaWise Smartphone Tracker and U.S. Telecom analyst Simon Flannery's estimates, and supply chain checks by our Asia/Pac Tech analyst Jasmine Lu, all suggest 29-32M iPhone shipments," she wrote.
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