Possibly A Longer Wait than Anticipated For iPhone 5 Release
BeatWeek’s Bill Palmer says that sitting out the iPhone 4S in anticipation of an iPhone 5 release in 2012 could result in a longer wait than you’re expecting. Palmer observes that the customary one-year iPhone product upgrade cycle has been disrupted, and suggests that timing of the iPhone 5 release will depend on other factors than the calendar date, such as how well the iPhone 4S continues to sell, and when the iPad 3 makes its market debut, noting that evidence is building that the 4S is doing so well that Apple won’t be in any hurry to release the 5, and an iPad 3 release in March is far from being written in stone.
At this point, iPhone 4S sales are reportedly still robust a month after the model’s release. Appleinsider’s Neil Hughes reports this week that a new new analysis by Deutsche Bank’s Chris Whitmore issued in a note to investors on Monday reveals that some 85 to 90 percent of 30 Apple retail stores polled are experiencing daily stock-outs of the iPhone 4S. Whitmore is cited advising that “Apple employees are directing customers to make an online appointment (first come first serve) for next day pickup at nearby Apple retail stores as stocks appear to be refreshed daily at most locations.”
BGR’s Zach Epstein cites a report from Canaccord Genuity analyst Mike Walkley that the iPhone 4S was the best-selling smartphone in October for Verizon Wireless, AT&T, and Sprint respectively, despite only being available for half of the month.
Bill Palmer says that the iPhone 5 was reportedly almost ready to go in 2011 before the decision came down that the 4S model, which had originally been intended to be a lower-priced companion model to the 5, would be released solo, which would explain the genesis of rumors and insider scuttlebutt about a new iPhone form factor. Consequently, he suggests that Apple can pull the trigger on an iPhone 5 release any time that suits them, but thinks they may be serene about biding their time since iPhone 4S orders thus far have been “through the roof,” putting the kibosh on the notion of a pre-spring iPhone 5 launch.
Then there’s the question of the iPad 3, with the latest batch of rumors suggesting the likelihood of a relatively modest iPad 2S upgrade coming for the March release, with the iPad 3 release pushed back to the fall. If that be the case, Palmer deduces that Apple might decide to release the iPhone 5 in the summer even if strong iPhone 4S sales continue through the first half of 2012. Personally, I would have come to the opposite conclusion based on a provisional conviction that Apple would want to release the iPad product first, but I can see the logic of Palmer’s point.
In another BeatWeek article this week, Bill Palmer speculates about what the iPad 3 and iPhone 5 specification will be. He suggests that for the iPhone, 4G LTE networking support will be vital, but that it could turn out to be even more important for the iPad 3 in a context of mobile-networked connectivity.
Another likely hardware upgrade will be Apple’s next generation quad core A6 CPU “if it’s ready in time.” It will certainly be a disappointment if it isn’t. On the software side there’s iOS 6, which Palmer thinks is distinctly more iffy for a 2012 release, with a modestly tweaked iOS 5.5 more probable.