Up until now the iPhone 5 rumors have been pleasant and hopeful, but as we draw closer to the rumored Apple announcement in October, various sources are reporting things may not be as cheery as they seem.
John Paczkowski's announcement about an Apple media event on October 4th, made fans hopeful that the wait for the iPhone 5 would finally be over. However, 9to5Mac reported earlier the iPhone 5 could suffer shortages in 2011 due to a manufacturing problem. More bad news came from DigiTimes who reinforced 9to5's claim, adding that a bubble defect in the touch panels could be the cause for the delay.
T-Mobile Chief Marketing Officer Cole Brodman confirmed that they would not be getting the iPhone 5 "this year." However, his statement could mean a lot of things.
According to one sales associate, Sprint will be offering the iPhone 4 to their subscribers in 2011, not the iPhone 5. This could be a mistake on the employee's part, or maybe both Sprint and T-Mobile customers will have to wait longer for the next generation device.
J.P. Morgan analyst Mark Moskowitz thinks Apple is going to have a great year by offering the "iPhone 4-plus", a low-end replacement for the iPhone 3GS, on more carriers. Apple doesn't seem to be in a hurry to launch the iPhone 5, and could have decided to expand its customer base by only offering the revamped iPhone 4 to T-Mobile and Sprint. This could also be due to the iPhone 5 production delays mentioned by 9to5Mac a few days ago. If Apple is expecting iPhone 5 shortages in 2011, they could be limiting the amount going to new carriers until production picks up in 2012. According to 9to5's report, the iPhone 4-plus is flying off the production line, and Apple should have plenty available for the upcoming holiday season, but the iPhone 5 might be limited in numbers.
It's been quite some time since we've heard any new or interesting news about Apple's iPhone plans. The newest case design leak didn't offer any new info about the iPhone 5 that we didn't already know, and I'm getting bored of hearing about the larger home button. However, 9to5Mac did have some interesting news to spread about the rumored low-end iPhone, and some possible bad news about the iPhone 5.
According to 9to5, the new low-end iPhone 4 look-alike is flying off the production line, and Apple should be armed and ready with 10+ million for the holiday season. The iPhone 5 isn't as lucky, and is seeing continued design and production delays. 9to5 believes that the iPhone 4 clone will be in abundance while the iPhone 5 will see shortages until 2012.
As we get closer to a possible next-generation iPhone announcement, more and more pictures off the "N94" iPhone prototype are being leaked. The N94 was originally believed to be the iPhone 4S or possibly the rumored 8GB iPhone Reuters mentioned last week. Engadget posted some new pictures of the mysterious device on Monday.
Why rush the next-generation iPhone when older iPhone models are still selling well? On Monday, the research firm NPD revealed that the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4 helped Apple increase its smartphone market share in Q2 of 2011. While Google's Android grabbed 52 percent of sales in the U.S., Apple still had two of the best selling phones so far this year. Proving there is no need to flood the market with new devices on a daily basis. However, the same report revealed that one in five new phones sold in Q2 were on a prepaid plan, and that the prepaid phone market is still emerging.
On Tuesday, Reuters dug the iPhone 4S out of its rumor grave, by claiming Apple is working on a new flash drive for a lower-priced 8GB iPhone 4 which will be released in a few weeks. While Apple fanboys and tech bloggers have their eyes glued to the iPhone 5, and the new rumored October 7 release date, does Apple plan on sneaking out their "affordable" iPhone in September?
Tech bloggers, analysts and all those unnamed secret sources seem to agree on one thing; Apple will embrace the mid-range/pre-paid mobile phone market this year. What they don't agree on is how they will do it. Will Apple follow tradition and discontinue the iPhone 3GS, or will they give it a new look and offer it at an affordable price? Some people believe that they preparing to launch two new models, the iPhone 5, and a cheaper device to attract people on a budget. Decreases in the iPhone 3GS supply chain seem to suggest that the device is on its way out. This could be a sign that Apple is clearing space for their rumored new models.
Several sources revealed to 9to5Mac that shipments of the iPhone 3Gs are rapidly decreasing in other countries and even the United States. A decrease in iPhone 3GS stock could be a sign that the device's days are numbered.
Another day, another iPhone rumor... BGR is sticking to their earlier report that a new iPhone will be released this August, but this time their unnamed source also revealed that Apple plans to offer a cheaper prepaid iPhone and their next generation device by the end of this summer.
According to Boy Genius Report, Apple will begin selling the iPhone 3GS for around $350 with no contract. Their "incredibly solid source" could not confirm the iPhone 5 with teardrop design that they announced back in June, but they did confirm that the next generation iPhone will be announced by "late August-ish."
More reputable sources are coming out of the woodwork and pointing to inside information that Apple plans to release a redesigned iPhone by the end of September. None other than the Wall Street Journal reports that key components have already been ordered, including an improved 8 megapixel camera that will be installed in the back of the next generation device.
The mockup above may look slick, however sources have told the Wall Street Journal the iPhone 5 will be more similar to the current generation iPhone 4 form factor. Regardless, Apple has redesigned the handset and the new model will be thinner and lighter than the iPhone 4. Other changes are coming to the hardware inside the device.
I don't know why I started following all these analyst reports, but since I did here's the latest:
Monday: Deutsche Bank analyst Chris Whitmore predicts Apple will announce an unlocked mid-range ($300 to $500) iPhone to penetrate the pre-paid mobile market share.
Tuesday: BMO Capital analyst Keith Bachman believes Whitmore is wrong because Apple will never release a low-end phone. Instead, Bachman thinks Apple will discount the iPhone 3GS to attract people on a budget.
Today, analyst Mike Abramsky with RBC Capital Markets said Apple will break tradition and not discontinue the iPhone 3GS when the iPhone 5 is announced. Abramsky said Apple is “expected” to offer the iPhone 3GS for free to attract mid-market buyers and slow the growth of the Android market.
On Monday, Deutsche Bank analyst Chris Whitmore told his clients to expect Apple to release two iPhones, one of which would be an affordable device to help Apple grab a part of the pre-paid mobile market share. But BMO Capital analyst Keith Bachman says Apple is all about making exciting high-end devices, and he doesn't see them releasing a low-end phone this year. Bachman believes that AT&T's re-marketed iPhone 3GS will be the phone Apple uses to hook budget-conscious consumers.