As Apple approaches nearly a year without a new mobile product, supply chain leaks and sources are talking about many new Apple products including the iPhone 6 release, iPhone 5C pricing, iPad mini 2 with Retina Display timing and when the rumored iWatch release could land.
We’re just waiting for invitations to confirm the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C event on September 10th, which should deliver a new iPhone 5S release date by the following Friday, but these are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to new products at Apple.
Apple’s board is reportedly worried about innovation, or the pace of it anyway, at Apple. If this report is true, a new analyst note to investors could highlight several ramped up timelines meant to deliver new Apple experiences to consumers yet this year and into early 2014.
This new note, published in part by CNet, comes from Glen Yeung at Citi Research, doubling down on previous predictions for the iPad mini 2 and iPhone 6, while diving into pretty much every rumored Apple product for 2013 and early 2014.
In the short summary below we’ll take a look at the most interesting details from Citi and compare them to other analysts and leaks, to paint a picture of what we can expect, and if Apple SVP Phil Schiller’s bravado from WWDC can live up to the coming products.
iPhone 6 Details
The iPhone 6 is the name given to Apple’s next, new iPhone. The iPhone 5S is widely expected in September 2013 as a small upgrade to the iPhone 5. The iPhone 6 on the other hand isn’t expected until 2014, with a new design and a larger screen.
In the note to investors, Citi reiterates an earlier note which claimed the iPhone 6 release date was set for early 2014. This would mark a change for Apple, with completely new iPhone coming in the first half of the year. For the past several launches the iPhone release took place in summer and fall. Yeung writes,
“…we expect Apple to launch a larger-screen version of iPhone (dubbed iPhone 6) in 1H14 [first half 2014]“
It’s here that we also hear about a larger screen again, which is becoming the hallmark of the iPhone 6. Bigger screens are the focus of questions asked to Tim Cook, analyst notes and numerous iPhone 6 concepts.
Read: iPhone 6 Rumor Roundup
In previous statements Yeung claimed the iPhone 6 will feature a 4.8-inch display, which is the same size Peter Misek of Jeffries included in a report of iPhone 6 prototypes in December 2012.
Tim Cook told attendees at the AllThingsD conference that Apple has not ruled out a larger screen, it’s just waiting for one that doesn’t come with downsides. Cook stated,
In a hypothetical world where those tradeoffs didn’t exist, you could see that [a larger screen] being one of the things that differentiates.
At this point, many analysts agree that the iPhone 6 will feature a larger screen, but Apple remains coy about anything farther out on the horizon, which is to be expected. It would be a surprise to see Apple come with an iPhone 6 release date in the first half of 2014, based on previous launches, but it could make sense to better compete with the Samsung Galaxy S5, which could land in early 2014.
iPhone 5S vs. iPhone 5C Price
The iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C are expected in September 2013, and it is looking more and more like the iPhone 5C will not be a budget smartphone, but rather a slightly cheaper iPhone with a colorful plastic shell.
According to Citi’s sources, the iPhone 5C will only cost Apple $50 less to make than the iPhone 5S. This isn’t surprising given they both are set to use a 4-inch Retina Display and even though the iPhone 5C isn’t a flagship it will need a decent processor and components. Yeung writes,
“…we agree with our Asia team that the cost to build iPhone 5C is ~$50 lower than the iPhone 5S (implying $240 vs. $290). Based on this assumption, we estimate that the wholesale selling price of iPhone 5C will be ~$390 and the retail selling price will be ~$450.”
An iPhone 5C price of $450 to consumers is on track with the previous prediction from Ming-Chi Kuo an analyst with KGI Securities, and higher than Gene Munster’s claims of a $300 iPhone 5C.
Yeung also points out that it could be a tough sell to put he iPhone 5C onto a carrier lineup, which seems to hint at the possibility that it could replace an iPhone 5 or iPhone 4S on some carrier lineups.
iWatch Release Remains Possible in 2013
Apple’s rumored wearable, the iWatch could come with a 2013 release date according to this note. This comes days after Apple convinced a Fuel Band and Fitness guru to join the company and weeks after Apple acquired a new company that could help with iWatch power.
In the note, Citi is more hopeful for an iWatch release date in 2013, though not 100% on the timing. Yeung writes,
“We also anticipate the launch of iWatch, possibly in 2H13.”
According to Ming-Chi Kuo, the iWatch release isn’t ready for 2013, and it could be at least a year off. At this point it is tough to know when Apple plans to sell an iWatch or any other wearable device of its own.
Apple Stores already boast a huge selection of wearables, with at least a dozen fitness accessories spanning the walls. While in an Apple store recently we saw Apple selling a wide variety of third-party fitness bands and devices, including a few that double as a watch.
iPad Mini 2 Retina Display
While recent analyst notes and leaks point to an iPad mini 2 with a Retina Display for this fall, Citi and Yeung are pointing to an early 2014 release date for the iPad mini with Retina Display. In place of it, they point to a iPad 5 and a cheaper iPad mini this fall.
In our 6/7/13 note, we first indicated that the iPad Mini with Retina display was likely pushed out until late 2013 or early 2014. Despite some recent investor discussion that it may be pulled forward, our Asia team continues to agree with our opinion that iPad Mini Retina is unlikely to be pulled forward.
We therefore continue to believe that Apple’s 2H13 [second half 2013] iPad lineup will be iPad5 (reduced weight, slimmer bezel, thinner design), iPad Mini (the existing model), and a reduced price iPad Mini (likely priced at $249).
We could see an iPad event in October for the iPad 5, and Citi suggests an iPad mini event in 2014. We’ve heard of a cheaper iPad mini as a release option this fall earlier in 2013, but the latest leaks indicated a Retina iPad mini 2 for this year. At this point there is too much conflicting information to call a clear winner.