Rumor: Apple to launch iPhone 4S and iPhone 5 by September?
Analysts from both Morgan Stanley and Deutsche Bank are predicting that Apple will offer 2 new iPhones, including a "budget-friendly" $350 one for the pre-paid market, but provide no evidence to support their claims.
It's one thing when we speculate on the next iPhone based on leaked photos that could have been someone's Photoshop project, but quite another when analysts from two different investment banks are arriving at similar conclusions without any concrete evidence. Or is it?
Katy Huberty from Morgan Stanley just returned to the U.S. after undisclosed meetings in Taiwan (possibly with Apple suppliers), when she informed investors that production for the next iPhone will "begin ramping up aggressively" from August to the end of 2011, according to Fortune. Based on her information, she believes these devices will be available to consumers by the end of September, and that Apple will be offering both the next-gen iPhone as well as a lower priced iPhone concurrently, according to AppleInsider.
Her colleague at Deutsche Bank, Chris Whitmore, made even bolder claims today by telling clients to "expect" both a pre-paid, unlocked iPhone 4S and a newly designed iPhone 5. He believes $349 would be the magic number to enable Apple to capture new customers, particularly in parts of the world where carriers do not subsidize the cost of handsets with a contract -- that's "1.5 billion potential customers in 98 countries, two thirds of whom prefer pre-paid plans" according to Fortune. As Philip Elmer-DeWitt at Fortune noted, "Whitmore does not cite any sources or claim any inside knowledge for his two-iPhone theory."
While it's entirely possible that the iPhone 5 will cause an iPhone 4s to be deeply discounted and co-exist like the current iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4 ecosystem, neither Huberty nor Whitmore have offered any evidence to backup their claims. I find it hard to believe the factories will have enough time to produce two different iPhones at the same time for September. As my colleagues have pointed out, the only sure bets about the next iPhone is that it will run iOS 5 and that it's coming. So far, only the LulzSec leaked AT&T documents have provided the most concrete evidence that the next iPad will be LTE-enabled, whereas the analysts seem to be making lofty declarations without any proofs. Who do you believe more? The hackers or the analysts?