updated 10:00 am EDT, Mon April 18, 2011
Only 'slight modifications' over iPhone 4
The iPhone 5 will enter mass production in September, but only carry "slight modifications" over the iPhone 4, claims Concord Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Checks with supply chain sources are said to indicate that the phone will use a version of the A5 processor in the iPad 2, and upgrade its rear camera from 5 megapixels to 8. It will also allegedly make a switch to Qualcomm cellular baseband for both GSM and CDMA models.
Trial production is actually expected to begin in August, giving Apple and its manufacturing partners time to sort out any problems. Apple should nevertheless be able to ship between 28 and 32 million iPhones this year, according to Kuo, although most of the units may be iPhone 4s. New iPhones would usually ship in June or July, but the 5 is widely expected to miss that timeframe.
Kuo additionally argues that because of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, Apple is dealing with limited supplies, which it will focus toward production of the iPhone 5. The company could therefore skip announcing a fifth-generation iPod touch in September. Apple traditionally announces new iPods in the fall, but the Touch is based on many of the same components as the iPhone.
The analyst suggests that Apple will still announce the iPhone 5 at this year's WWDC event in early June, even though the wait for a shipping product may be extremely long. He contends that the main selling point of the next iPhone may in fact be iOS 5, which could be a centerpiece at WWDC along with Mac OS X Lion. Apple did not do its usual iOS preview in March, instead showcasing the iPad 2 and iOS 4.3.
Kuo lastly claims to have heard that major iPhone revisions are being reserved for a sixth-generation model. The device will supposedly carry a new design and substantially improved specifications, and go on sale in the first half of 2012. The rapid turnaround is attributed to "fierce competition" with Android smartphones.