In spite of a clear pattern of overhaul-refresh-overhaul-refresh with the iPhone line, the rumor mill still insists that there will be an overhauled iPhone 6 this year. But if Apple is indeed planning a completely new iPhone, where’s the evidence?
Like you, I scan the iPhone news and rumors each day and, thanks to some serious keyword fragmentation by the tech media, this year I have a whole bunch of keywords to search: iPhone 5S, iPhone 6, and even “iPhone Math.” The fragmentation has been a bit annoying to cover, since having more than one viable keyword in the rumor mix has led to some crazy predictions — namely, that both the iPhone 5S and iPhone 6 will co-release in 2013. We’ve also been treated to rumors that the iPhone 5S will in fact be the el cheap-o iPhone that have been rumored for the past three years, and that the iPhone 6 will be Apple’s much-needed “phablet.”
Nevermind the fact that this rumor isn’t even what you’d call a “rumor” — a rumor needs to originate from at least an alleged person who has specific knowledge that something is in the works — this, instead, is Peter Misek’s fantasy. As a talented financial tech analyst for Jefferies Securities, he is able to process the smartphone market, see where companies like Samsung is succeeding against Apple, and simply assume that Cupertino will fill in the gaps that exist between their iPhone line and Samsung’s smartphone array, which is admittedly much more diverse than Apple’s iPhone line.
I disagree with Mr. Misek’s assertions. Apple has succeeded for a long time now in the smartphone with the singular, monolithic iPhone, and now more than ever is the company branching out and offering several models of the iPhone at varying price points. Sure, an el cheap-o iPhone with no contract would serve the developing world well, but can apple make money doing that? Some analysts clearly do not think so. And what about the “phablet?” Yes, the GS3 and Note 2 have big screens — bigger than the iPhone. But is a larger screen what the average user is really looking for? If that was the case, then Samsung’s two top smartphones would be dominating. While they have performed well, I don’t think anyone would ascribe the term “domination” to their performance.
But all of this is just some academic conjecture. Where’s the evidence?
Well, at present, there is virtually no evidence whatsoever of the big-screed, 2013 iPhone 6, while the iPhone 5S appears to be inching itself into reality. After hearing some unfounded projections that the iPhone release could actually see a return to the WWDC this year in June, we’ve gotten word of a bit of production activity in Asia for components, alla some tweaked in-cell screens and the A7 chip — both of which point to a refreshed 5S. However, on the iPhone 6 “phablet” side — nada.
When Steve Jobs was running the show at Apple, having no knowledge of the iPhone 6 production ramping up would have have been a surprise; he managed to keep a relatively tight lid on things. But in the new Tim Cook era, we’re now treated to sneak peeks at new iDevices months in advance of their official release. Perhaps in an attempt to neutralize the rumor mill, Apple has become increasingly transparent in this way. And yet, nothing about the iPhone 6 has surfaced.
If Apple is indeed planning the iPhone 6 for a fall 2013 release, and it will be the big, bold overhaul that the rumor mill would have you believe, apple would necessarily have to be working on it now. Remember — it would literally be back to the drawing board to make a 4.8 to 5-inch device.
I know that there is a wanton desire for the iPhone 6 to have much bigger display — and it very well may come. But its likelihood in 2013 still remains slim at best.
By Michael Nace