Apple has reportedly placed orders to component manufacturers for its next iPhone (which could be dubbed iPhone 4S) and the smartphone’s production may begin in July. This means that the smartphone could hit the stores sometime in September or October, as everybody seems to think.
As for the iPhone 5, it is unlikely that Apple will launch it in September. Actually, the iPhone 5 won’t be launched until 2012, according to Peter Misek, Jefferies’ analyst cited by IBTimes. ”[…]We believe iPhone units will reaccelerate due to: new lower-cost iPhone, iPhone 4S in the fall followed by iPhone 5 in June 2012, and more carriers”, he stated.
The iPhone 4S will not be a new iPhone version, but an improved version of the current smartphone. The possible enhancements include a dual-core A5 processor, HSPA+ support and better cameras. By releasing the iPhone 4S, the tech giant may be planning to attack prepaid and emerging markets. Apple’s COO, Tim Cook has already suggested the company may target other markets as well, when he stated that Apple’s products would not be just for the rich.
The iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S are expected to be iOS 5 compatible, Misek believes. Other analysts seem to agree with Misek’s predictions. For example, Wedbush Securities’ Scott Sutherland thinks that the iPhone 4S will bring only incremental upgrades and added that the iPhone 5 would arrive by next January and bring 4G, CDMA and GSM compatibility.
Other analysts still remain optimistic and hope Apple will roll out its iPhone 5 in September after all. “[…] we continue to expect iPhone 5 in September,” stated RBC Capital Markets’ analyst Mike Abramsky. Although the exact release date for the next-generation iPhone is still unknown, one thing is sure: the upcoming iPhone will have to face strong competition. Apple’s rivals have already lined up a series of possible iPhone killers (Google’s Nexus 4G, Motorola’s Photon 4G and Droid Bionic and Samsung’s Galaxy S 2) which are ready to take on Apple’s iPhone from day one.
That’s why it wouldn’t be such a wise move for Apple to release an “S” version of the iPhone. More than ever, the competition is fierce and Steve Jobs&Co mustn’t play around, if they want to keep their throne in the smartphone kingdom. And maybe it is not yet the moment to target the low entry market. There are still many possible clients with a sufficient household income that Apple can target. A smaller or cheaper version of the iPhone will be a feasible idea when the market will reach its saturation and the Cupertino company will have to target new ones.