iPhone 5 to Debut in October with China Mobile Support: Report
Apple’s eagerly awaited update of its popular iPhone smartphone, informally dubbed the iPhone 5 by the media, will officially debut in October, according to an analyst note obtained by Mac-centric blog AppleInsider. Sterne Agee analyst Shawn Wu wrote in a research note that the iPhone would also include support for China Mobile’s TD-SCDMA 3G network, which boasts more than 650 million mobile subscribers—China Mobile is the world’s largest cellular operator, suggesting Apple is working to position the latest iPhone as a global device.
Wu also wrote that the iPhone will include greater support for Chinese customers through the iOS 6 operating system and digital concierge Siri, with the ability to understand and respond in Mandarin and Cantonese, as well as overall greater integration for Chinese social networking sites like Baidu. Among the other enhancements will be a slightly larger screen size, 4G LTE wireless modem and a general redesign, Wu noted. “We believe these new features will likely help drive a significant upgrade and new user cycle more powerful than what we saw with the iPhone 4 and 4S,” he wrote in the investor note.
Before the debut of the new phone, which would come a year after the latest update of the iPhone, the 4S, Wu said Apple could sell up to 27 million iPhones in the June quarter, and see sales dip to 25 million in the September quarter. “This is more of a function of the transition ahead of the upcoming 6th generation iPhone refresh likely in October timeframe as opposed to weak demand,” he wrote.
For iPhone owners who are planning to upgrade to the latest edition (whenever it actually lands on store shelves), they may be faced with a new connector for plugging in the smartphone—technology blog TechCrunch said this week that they had independently confirmed the latest iPhone will drop the 30-pin port for a 19-pin port. The report sent a shockwave through the Web, angering many longtime Apple fans who felt they would now have to replace any and all iPhone accessories to fit the new port—Apple has used the 30-pin design on all mobile devices since the third generation iPod music player.
The launch of the latest iPhone will also likely coincide with the release of the updated iOS 6 mobile operating system, which Apple previewed at its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) earlier this month. Among the 200 features added to the mobile OS are an updated Siri, Facebook integration for Contacts and Calendar, and a new Passbook app, as well as the introducing of a maps application that will replace Google Maps with Apple’s own in-house platform. The app will feature real-time traffic information and data—for local searches—on more than 100 million businesses, including info cards tied to Yelp ratings, reviews, photos and deals.