According Ming-Chi-Kuo, an analyst for KGI Securities, Apple is on schedule to release two new iPhones this June with a release date set for early July. Both new iPhones will feature iOS 7. Unlike previous years, Apple will release a low-cost model alongside a new flagship model. As so often rumored, Kuo says the new low-cost iPhone will support time-division duplexing (TDD), allowing for a release on China Mobile, which is currently the world’s largest carrier.
The reasoning behind the move to a summer release is to ward off competition, who according to Kuo, were able to grab market share from Apple due to what he’s calling a delayed iPhone 5 launch. The newer iPhones will also be based off the current model, so it would mean a shorter development cycle for the iPhone 5S and new low-cost iPhones.
As for the differences between the flagship iPhone 5S and the new low-cost iPhone.
[W]e expect the product differentiation between iPhone 5S and iPhone 5 will be: (1) computing power, with iPhone 5S to run on the faster A7 application processor; (2) the camera, with iPhone 5S being equipped with Smart Flash, ensuring photo quality using white or yellow flash according to lighting conditions; (3) iPhone 5S will have a fingerprint chip under the Home button, improving security and usability; and (4) the low-cost iPhone 5 hybrid casing of fiberglass and plastic will make it lighter and slimmer than general plastic casing and easier to make in various colors. However, we still think it will be heavier than iPhone 5S, which will have an aluminum casing. Thus, even form factor will be an area of differentiation.
Both models will support LTE.
Apple doesn’t do cheap, but this certainly sounds like a good way for them to deliver an attractive low-cost iPhone for the masses. Don’t be surprised if these new low-cost iPhones are in greater demand than the iPhone 5S. I’d venture to guess there are good number of consumers who could care less about the A7 processor, but would jump at the chance to buy a pink iPhone. Specs be damned.