May 24th, 2012, 6:38 A.M.–Apple still undecided? A new report posted online says the tech giant is currently testing two devices that could be the next iPhone, or the long-rumored iPhone 5.
Grain of salt, I know, but it is very interesting. A new report posted by 9to5Mac is claiming that Apple, the so-called “post PC” giant, is currently testing two iPhones or for starters, two prototype smartphones, and it true, then it is highly possible that the phones have the same specs, but with design differences.
According to the report, the two smartphones, or the two iPhone 5, have the same display, a 3.99-inch screen, or almost a half-inch bigger than the displays of the current iPhone models, the iPhone 3GS, the iPhone 4 and the iPhone 4S. Also with the new display, the two smartphones are reportedly shipping with a new resolution, 640 x 1136, or a display with additional 176 pixels compared to current iPhones’ screens.
Similar to older reports, the iPhone 5 might get an additional row for the icons. In short, the next iPhone might feature 20 icons per screen excluding the four default icons located at the bottom part of the phone’s display.
Rumors say the iPhone 5 will get a September or October release date, similar to last year’s iPhone 4S. One analyst is also suggesting that Apple will introduce its new Mac lineup first this quarter before moving into a new smartphone lineup.
Analyst of Piper Jaffray, Gene Munster, is predicting that the next iPhone will “break other Apple sales records,” adding that the new smartphone will introduce a new design and new technologies. Similar to Android and Windows Phone, the iPhone 5 might adopt the Long Term Evolution, the faster and “better” network technology which offers faster data downloads and uploads, but also consumes monthly data allowance faster.
Apple has “significantly reduced” its iPhone orders to its manufacturers, as it “begins prepping” for iPhone 5. That’s how Neil Hughes at AppleInsider sees it, based on an investors note from Sterne Agee stock analyst Shaw Wu. See also iPhone 5 release date, specs and rumour round up.
In the note, Wu told his readers that “he has found in his checks with suppliers that Apple has reduced iPhone orders by between 20 and 25 percent from the 35.1 million units the company shipped in the March quarter,” according to Hughes. Go to iPhone 5 will “launch” in September.
If it’s ordering fewer phones, it will be shipping fewer phones. “If those numbers hold for the current June quarter, that would result in shipments of between 26 million and 28 million iPhones. That result would be below Wall Street consensus of between 30 million and 31 million.” Visit iPhone 5′s iOS 6 firmware to be revealed in June.
But, there are the phones already in the channel inventory. Wu estimates that there 8.6 million iPhones in the channel inventory, with 2.6 million added in the most recent quarter. “That channel inventory allowed the company to reach a supply-demand balance of between 4 and 6 weeks,” according to the AppleInsider story.
Based on past history, Apple can expect a slowdown in iPhone sales, the closer we come to the expected announcement of the next iPhone. At the same time, it presumably wants to have enough phones to meet all the demand during the run-up to that announcement, while making sure there’s manufacturing capacity to meet expected demand for the Next iPhone.
AppleInsider quotes Wu: “It appears AAPL is opting to be conservative with its suppliers to factor in a potential 2-quarter pause ahead of the refresh and also to manage inventory.”
In 2011, as AppleInsider notes, Apple reported record sales of 20.34 million iPhones during the June quarter, and 17.07 million in the September quarter, “as Apple drew down inventories ahead of the iPhone 4S launch.” But that seems to assume that Apple, in effect, didn’t have enough iPhones to meet demand. Apple CEO Tim Cook said that demand for iPhone 4 fell off, especially in the second half of the September quarter, but not as much as Apple executives had feared.
Wu “believes investor expectations should be drawn in for the June quarter as well as the following September quarter,” according to AppleInsider.
Rollup isn’t a corporate inventory management specialist, and Apple’s Tim Cook definitely is, but low-balling Apple sales for two quarters — half of the year — doesn’t seem like a great inventory management strategy.
I’m sure by now most are quite aware that the Big Red is changing their plans when it comes to their unlimited data offering this summer, a change that when it comes down to it basically means there will be no more unlimited data plans for those Verizon customers that upgrade to a subsidised handset or if you are a new Verizon customer.
We previously covered Verizon change to their unlimited data plan, where Fran Shammo, the CFO of Verizon Communications stated that grandfathered customers would leave the 3G unlimited data plan in favour of 4G LTE, and as such would be required to purchase a Verizon data share plan.
According to the guys, the feedback on the matter they have been getting from their readers, some have outright stated that losing their unlimited data plan will stop them from upgrading to the next iPhone, whilst others have said things along the lines of, so much for getting a new phone.
Thus it would appear that Verizon customers are not too happy about losing the unlimited data plan option, especially when it comes to the iPhone.
So with this in mind, we’d like to ask our readers who are with Verizon and own the iPhone, if Verizon dropping the unlimited data plan will cause an issue for you when it comes to upgrading to the new iPhone?
News about the forthcoming Apple iPhone 5 continues to ramp up despite the fact that all we really know about it so far is based on rumors, leaks and speculation. Whilst we like to pass on all the latest developments to our readers we’ve also taken some time to look at some of the amazing concept designs out there for the next iPhone and today we have another iPhone 5 concept that looks pretty realistic.
While some of the previous mockup designs we’ve looked at have been absolutely beautiful to look at, many of them have featured specs that are wildly optimistic to say the least. You can see just some of the examples here, here and here. In fact yesterday we noted that some of these ideas serve to raise expectations of the next iPhone so high that whatever eventually arises cannot live up to what has been hyped. It’s quite refreshing then to see a concept iPhone 5 that has made a stab of being feasible.
The design we’re looking at today comes from Toby Kick of iTopnews.de and was brought to our attention by iDownload Blog. We think it looks really quite stylish and Apple could do worse that to take note of this slimmer design. As you might expect from the growing expectations that the iPhone 5 will have a larger screen, this design includes a 4-inch Retina display and also an aluminum reverse along with 4G LTE connectivity. As you can see then this latest concept has many of the specs and features that are widely rumored rather than diving into the realms of fantasy.
Where this design differs from current speculation though is that instead of being taller than the current iPhone as has been speculated, this one is wider and features an extra row of icons. It also features an enlarged status bar at the top of the display which we think would be pretty good but unlikely all the same. When all’s said and done though we think this is one of the most realistic iPhone 5 concepts we’ve seen so far and we’ve seen a lot of them!
We’d like to receive your comments regarding this latest iPhone concept so please do send them in. Would you like the real deal to look like this? Maybe you’re already expecting more from the next iPhone and would be disappointed if this were an accurate representation? Either way, why not let us know your thoughts on this.
From where I’m sitting it looks like Samsung may rue the day it crossed its biggest customer, Apple [AAPL] as it appears Cupertino’s investing in competing firms, meaning the iPhone 5 won’t just transform smartphones, but will also generate new competitors for its former friend.
[ABOVE: One of Apple's two latest iPhone/Siri ads.]
Apple assembles the iPhone 5 jigsaw
We all expect the iPhone 5 to appear in Fall, probably September in preference to my original October claim. We anticipate the release will ship with iOS 6, which we expect to see explained at WWDC 2012 next month. We expect the iPhone 5 to be faster, with better graphics and an advanced 4-inch display. Inclusion of NFC seems likely, should Apple not instead opt for Bluetooth-based payment systems. There’ll be new Apple Maps, Siri improvements and more.
Apple is already lining up component suppliers for its new smartphone, with Japanese firms coming in for particular attention, the latest reports claim even Sony has been drafted into the iPhone 5 supply chain, joining LG Display, Toshiba Mobile Display and Sharp in production of 4-inch in-cell touch panels for the next iPhone.
All the above firms are expected to begin iPhone display production at the end of May, sundry reports suggest.
Sharp and Foxconn grow closer
The alliance between Sharp and Hon Hai/Foxconn continues to extend, even as Sony today put its stake in its joint panel production venture with Sharp up for sale.
(That’s the same venture Foxconn recently coughed-up good cash to join, allegedly in order to secure display production and supply. Apple’s a huge Foxconn customer, so there’s little doubt some of the Sharp/Foxconn made displays will be heading to an iPhone near you.)
Also today Reuters tells us: “Japan’s Sharp Corp and Taiwan’s Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. will jointly produce panels for Apple Inc’s iPhone and other consumer electronics products in China.” Under this new deal Sharp will supply cutting-edge technology for the new factory in Chengdu.
These displays aren’t cheap. In November, iSuppli estimated the cost of the touchscreen and display unit to be $37. With Apple on track to sell maybe 140 million or more iPhones per year, this means an estimated $5 billion is headed into the coffers of the company’s new suppliers. (Though the estimate’s based on the cost of the components used in iPhone 4S.)
That’s a significant cash prize for Japan’s ailing electronics industry, post-tsunami.
Apple partner, Qualcomm, is also expected to lend its hands to the next iPhone, with Piper Jaffray analyst, Gene Munster, predicting that company will be able to deliver the 28nm baseband processor for the iPhone 5.
Finally, some speculation. Most agree the 8-megapixel camera used in the current iPhone is ample for taking casual pictures. Manufactured by OmniVision, there’s a chance Apple could raise this to a 16-megapixel camera, if it so chose.
That’s because OmniVision has announced two new 16-megapixel camera sensors designed for “high-end smartphones“. The sensors can capture Quad Full High Definition video at 60 frames per second. This means your iPhone (in conjunction with iMovie) could potentially capture incredibly high quality video. Does anyone remember Flip?
All this activity in the supply chain is having major repercussions on the nature of that side of the industry, and the evidence suggests Apple is putting plans in place for a major reworking of its smartphone — the 4-inch display is only part of this. CEO Tim Cook’s operational genius is hatching a strategic competitive plan.
More than one phone?
Even so, it appears the company hasn’t yet internally declared which way to go with the new design with a report claiming Apple still has “a few” different prototype devices undergoing internal testing in the hallowed halls of its Cupertino HQ. And the iPhone 5 (or new iPhone, or sixth-generation iPhone, or whatsoever Apple’s marketing mavericks choose to call the thing) will, indeed, boast a new Dock Connector, that report claims.
What does all this mean for Samsung? Put simply, it means a sackful of trouble, because in the next year or two firms it currently compete with will be profiting from the Apple dollar, with plant and industrial equipment investment which will help those firms raise their game.
This will inevitably enable smaller Samsung foes to begin to take strategic chunks out of the Korean firms electronics market dominance. Given the company had the chance to make peace with Apple in the US courts this week, executives and shareholders may in future consider the company only has itself to blame.
Keep up with further iPhone 5 coverage here:
- iPhone 5 release: Display production begins June — WSJ
- Apple, the iPhone, and the future of healthcare
- Apple WWDC: iOS 6 says farewell to Google Maps
- iPhone 5 release date rumor claims September launch
- Liquidmetal iPhone 5? Not this year, inventor claims
- iPhone 5: Make or break for Apple vs. Samsung?
- 3 reasons Apple won’t reveal iPhone 5 in June
Got a story? Drop me a line via Twitter or in comments below and let me know. I’d like it if you chose to follow me on Twitter so I can let you know when these items are published here first on Computerworld.
Hope still remains that we may see the iPhone 5 at WWDC 2012 but it is looking unlikely. However, we are still seeing new speculations about the handset coming in a barrage almost daily. News rolled in today of a new multi-point touch focus camera possibility for the iPhone 5.
iPhone 5 camera to feature multipoint touch focus
Reports, via AppleInsider, claim that Apple was just awarded a multi-point focusing system patent that integrated hardware that is capable of multi-touch input. A game changing revolution that could find its way into every generation, hereafter, of Apples’ next products.
The system will allow the user of a camera equipped iDevice to choose more than one area of focus on a touchscreen. As the picture is taken each is passed through a separate image processor to give optimal exposure and sharpness of both areas. This revolutionary patent also mentions the capabilities for automated image capturing progress. Simply put: the old way of capturing images often included focus on an area not desired by the photographer. Apple navigated their way around this by combining multitouch input with live preview imaging which creates the desired image, every time. Through advanced auto focusing algorithms and tracking this new way of taking pictures constantly keeps record of user defined regions of interest.
Differing from the iPhone 4S we have now, the focus wont be restricted to center weighting or face detection, instead to the specific areas the user wants to capture. The imaging processor is capable of calculating two or more designated areas and adjusting the camera focus to alter the distance between the image sensor and the rear element of the lens. Pinching the touchscreen will allow the user to alter the image’s overall focus. Apple added that the new system would require a large amount of processing power, and the patent hints that a dedicated chip will be used to process the sensor data and control the cameras operation.
We already leaped a large step forward with the new camera found on the iPhone 4S, and the reworked optics on the iPhone 5 are guaranteed to give you the chance to capture images that nobody has been able to capture previously using a smartphone. It is still unknown whether this technology will be used in the iPhone 5 but the competition Apple faces in the smartphone market gives it a high probability.
Dedicated image processing chip like HTC One X
As expected though, to work the system will require a large amount of processing power. So the patent hints that a dedicated chip will be used to process the sensor data and control the cameras operation. Just like how the HTC One X has its own dedicated image processing chip, Apple will need to come up with a much more powerful one (while keeping battery life in mind) for the iPhone 5 to get its pictures to come out perfect everytime.
What All The iPhone Fuss Is About
The tech world’s attention is almost always turned toward the next best thing. And for Apple’s fan base, which tends to wait with bated breath for every new gadget in the Cupertino, Calif-based giant’s pipeline, this theory rings especially true.
It turns out its next-gen iPhone — presumably called the iPhone 5 (although it’s hard to say after the launch of “the new iPad” threw us all for a loop) — has been no exception. The new phone, which will reportedly come out this fall, is already a topic of conversation for Apple lovers everywhere, as rumors regarding its shape, specs and software continue to spread like a wildfire across the Web.
Here’s a look at 8 of the most talked about iPhone 5 projections to surface from the rumor mill so far.
Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster writes in a research note this morning that he thinks Apple remains on target for an October launch for the iPhone 5 despite the reported 28 nm baseband radio chip shortage at Qualcomm.
“We believe there is an 80% chance Apple will be able to meet our 49 million estimate given the constrained supply,” he writes. “We expect Apple is likely to get favorable treatment in terms of access to 28nm inventory. Net- net, the worst case scenario is that Apple is unable to meet demand in the short term following iPhone 5 launch and units would shift from the December quarter into the March quarter as we don’t believe consumers would simply purchase another phone in most cases if they wanted the iPhone 5 and it was not available.”
Munster also provided some thoughts on what will be new in the iPhone 5.
“We believe the iPhone 5 will represent the biggest consumer electronics product launch of 2012 as well as the biggest device upgrade cycle in smartphone history,” he writes. (No pressure, Tim Cook!) “We believe the iPhone 5 will have a completely redesigned body style, which may more closely resemble the metallic rear panel of the current iPad. We believe there is a 50% chance the new phone has a slightly larger 4+” screen. We believe larger screen size is one of the few areas in which Android devices have been able to compete. Beyond the redesigned body and screen, we believe the new phone will include 4G LTE, upgraded processor and memory, and a higher megapixel camera.”
Munster maintains his Overweight rating and $910 target on the stock.
AAPL is up $4.22, or 0.8%, to $534.60.
(Photo: Concept Phones) – Apple May Reveal iPhone 5 at WWDC 2012
Let us look at some of the rumors that have been circulated recently. Apple has been known for launching its latest technologies or developments during WWDC. However, in the previous year, the company launched its iPhone 4S only in October. So there are possibilities of Apple not unveiling its phone this year too.
There have been speculations of iOS 6 getting launched during the conference and if this is to be believed, who knows Apple may surprise its fans by unveiling iPhone 5.
“We have a great WWDC planned this year and can’t wait to share the latest news about iOS and OS X Mountain Lion with developers,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “The iOS platform has created an entirely new industry with fantastic opportunities for developers across the country and around the world,” Schiller further added.
There have been discussions on the latest iOS with probability of the company launching its next major version of its Mac operating system, Mountain Lion during the WWDC 2012.
“Mountain Lion is one of the highlights of WWDC 2012, and with the new operating system, Apple might announce the redesigned MacBook Pro that sports the MacBook Air-like design (with no optical drive) and will come with a new processor, a new iSight camera and might ship with 4G LTE support,” as posted in PopHerald.
With Samsung, the biggest threat to Apple in the smartphone category, already announcing its newest version Samsung Galaxy S3, the company delaying its iPhone 5 might also affect its sales in the market.
According to reports, Samsung has already received 9 million pre-orders for its third-generation smartphone and this definitely comes as a warning to Apple to make sure that they do not lose out on customers.
With rival companies like Samsung doing pretty well in the market, Apple may wait until October for its iPhone 5 launch, or are they ready for June.
More iPhone 5 News:
iPhone 5: No Concern Over QCom Chip Shortage Plus New Camera Feature
iPhone 5: 4-Inch Screen Favors HTC Evo 4G LTE, One X Custom Delays
Apple to Integrate iOS 6 OS, Mini Dock Connector on iPhone 5?
Samsung Tops Apple: Should iPhone 4S Have Had Physical Keyboards?
iPhone 5 vs. Galaxy S3, Samsung Threatens Apple’s Reign
WWDC 2012: iPhone 5 Release Date in June? October More Realistic
Apple iPhone 5 Rumors: Leaked Design and Release Dates
iPhone 5 vs. Galaxy S3, Liquid Metal a Game Changer?
Big Apple Thinks Small with Mini iPad, iPhone 5 ‘Nano’
As mentioned last week, there’s been iPhone 5 rumors circulating regarding a larger 4 inch screen that was first reported by the Wall Street Journal. Today, that claim is further supported with these supposed leaked screen panels that are claimed to be meant for the new design of the iPod Touch. If Apple plans on releasing a new generation iPod Touch, it would make sense for the iPhone 5 to have a similar, if not the same, body design. The recent designs of the iPod Touch have very closely resembled the iPhone line.
These screen panels are measuring 4.1 inches diagonally according to the report. That would be consistent with the earlier claim of a 3.95 inch viewable area. Of course, these “leaked” images were taken without any comparable items in the photo to measure up. Now with the rumors of the front panel out, I wonder if Tim Cook Co can manage to get the iPhone even thinner. The current iPod Touch model is considerably thinner than the iPhone 4s, so it’s conceivable that Apple can trim some fat in the iPhone 5 while retaining the sleek looking body and high performance.
It should be noted that the iPhone 5 enthusiasts should take these rumors with a grain of salt. Apple has been fairly successful in keeping their pipeline secrets. After all, the release of iPhone 4s was a shocker to the Apple rumorville since it was generally expected that the iPhone 5 would have been released at that time. The new expectation is for the iPhone to be released later this year, with some hoping for an announcement as soon as the WWDC 2012 in June. But with the productions reportedly just starting or barely underway, June is likely way too soon. September appears to be a more plausible time frame.
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