iPhone 5 AND 4S (or 4-plus) Looking Likely; But Another iPhone 5 Delay? [UPDATED]
Jonathan Ratner of Canada’s influential Financial Post reports today that J.P. Morgan analyst Mark Moskowitz is predicting that Apple will launch two new iPhone models this fall — the much-anticipated iPhone 5 with a fresh form factor and also an “iPhone 4-plus” (possibly AKA “iPhone 4S”?) carrying over the current iPhone 4 and targeting the massive burgeoning smartphone market in China.
Indeed, in our brainstorming and speculation about Apple’s iPhone hardware roadmap, it should be taken into consideration that the U.S., Canada, Europe, and the antipodes are not the only markets in play, and China especially, with its 1.33 billion increasingly comsumer-oriented citizens, is destined to loom large in corporate IT product planning and decision-making. For some perspective, Jonathan Ratner’s article notes that Chinese service carriers China Mobile and China Telecom have approximately 600 million and 100 million subscribers, respectively, while Sprint and T-Mobile USA are at 52 million and 33 million subscribers respectively. The implications should be clear.
Ratner cites Moskowitz musing in his Monday note to J.P. Morgan clients that a device targeting China could add to Apple’s already robust super growth rates in Asia, noting that his firm’s research indicated that the iPhone 5 will be based on a lighter, thinner form factor ambidextrously GSM and CDMA capable — ergo: “world-mode” smartphone, but not to be looking for LTE/4G support this time around. Moskowitz also thinks the the iPhone 5 will have a larger retina display and the 8 megapixel camera with LED flash that many rumors have been predicting, a CPU based on the iPad 2′s A5 processor or even an A6 (the latter which I think highly unlikely unless the iPhone 5 is delayed again until early 2012 — see more on that below), 1GB of RAM, increased battery life due to more efficient battery and power management technologies.
[UPDATE: iPhone Arena's Daniel P. has posted some spy shots found on China's Weibo - a Twitter-esque social networking service, that may or may not be of the CPU that will power the iPhone 5 (and/or 4S), so take this one with a grain of salt, but comparison with iFixit's iPhone 4 teardown pictures make it interesting specualtion.]
The iPhone 4-plus would be based on the current iPhone and displace the $ 99 iPhone 3GS as Apple’s entry-level smartphone model, but while Moskowitz expects it to especially be promoted by Chinese service carriers, but it’s unlikely that Apple would limit it exclusively to Asian markets.
White iPhone 4S Allegedly Spotted In AT&T’s Inventory System, And Another iPhone 5 Delay Looming?
Meanwhile, SlashGear’s Chris Davies reports that a reference to the iPhone 4S is rumored to have been spotted in AT&Ts internal inventory systems, with a leaked screenshot showing purported listing of a white iPhone 4S alongside existing iPhone 3G and four variants of the iPhone 4.
Davies observes that a iPhone 4S model is rumored to become Apple’s new entry-level device aimed at cost-conscious postpaid customers and offered with a prepay option as well, providing Apple with a market foil against low- and mid-price Android device competition.
However, somewhat ominously, Davies says scuttlebutt he’s been hearing suggests that rather than rolling out both the iPhone 4S and a clean slate iPhone 5 simultaneously, that due to rumored production difficulties and stock shortages that are rumored to be likely to last into early 2012 for iPhone 5 componentry, Apple may be forced to delay its debut and release the iPhone 4S on its own as a stopgap.
Purported Apple ‘iPhone 4S’ Parts Surface
Fueling iPhone 4S speculation and conjecture, Appleinsider’s Sam Oliver reports that new parts claimed to be for an upgraded iPhone 4 model have been sent to AppleInsider by iRepair India, sourced from the consumer electronics manufacturing metropolis if from Shenzhen in southern China, and claimed to be for a soon-to-be-released “iPhone 4S” model.
Oliver says the unnamed individual (identified as a senior iRepair India exec) who sent the components referred to the handset as an “iPhone 4GS,” which might be considered corroborative indication that the refreshed iPhone 4 model could be destined to displace the iPhone 3GS in Apple’s smartphone lineup.
The supplier insider also claimed there will be “no iPhone 5 this year,” which would jibe with what SlashGear’s Chris Davies is reporting related above, and that that sample parts of virtually all components of the purported “iPhone 4S” are available for purchase, including the battery, camera, home button, dock connector assembly, and display glass, and that they’re “really, really” sure the components are genuine (Oliver has posted photos with his Appleinsider report).
This saga isn’t over yet!