There are an increasing number of rumors indicating that a 5-inch iPhone 6 is on its way in 2013. If that’s the case, then where’s the evidence of ramped up production?
Yesterday on the iPhone 5 News Blog I wrote about the latest iPhone rumor: that some guy in China knows another guy in China who works for a parts supplier who says he saw the iPhone 5S and iPhone 6, and that the iPhone 6 is going to be the 5-inch “phablet” that we’ve been “promised” by the rumor mill. How some sketchy guy in a squalid parts supplier in mainland China got a glimpse at two prototypes of Apple’s purported, iPhones, no one knows — but there are no photos to back it up. Hopefully we’ve all moved on from this non-story.
But just in case you haven’t, I thought it would be worth laying out all of the evidence to date that supports the notion that the iPhone 6 is coming in 2013.
Oh wait — there isn’t any.
The main strain of “evidence” that the iPhone 6 will be launched in 2013 with a 5-inch screen is based on a hunch by financial tech analysts and the prayers of a few million hard core iPhone users, who really love the bigger-screened Android smartphones, and are hoping that Apple will follow suit. The tech analysts have been feeding these rumors with their unfounded tech wish-list ejaculations. From VideoGamer:
iPhone 6, complete with a larger screen, is about to enter production with a planned June/July release date, Jefferies analyst Peter Misek has told investors.
The iPhone 6 – one of two new models in testing – will feature a 4.8 inch screen compared to the iPhone 5′s 4 inch display, says Misek.
Misek’s assertion is actually more like an assumption — looking at the smartphone market, adding in a big-screened iPhone to the mix this year is what he’d do if he was Apple. But he’s not Apple. This is the Apple who held strong to the iPhone’s diminutive 3.5-inch display until just five months ago, with the release of the iPhone 5 — and the elongated iPhone 5 display still didn’t satisfy those who are calling for an even larger-screened iPhone 6.
Back in late January, IBT pegged iPhone 6 production to begin in March: “Tech giant Apple is set to begin the production of the next iPhone, speculated as iPhone 6 or iPhone 5S, in March for the preparation of its June or July release date, says an analyst. . . Misek has predicted that the next iPhone will be 0.8 inches bigger than the iPhone 5′s at 4.8 inches diagonally.” In the past, however, if production of a new iPhone was to begin in earnest, we’d be hearing about component production ramping up now.
To date, we’ve heard nothing of the sort, save for rumors of the A7 processor starting to bubble up. However, the A7 chip is a far cry from solid evidence of a 5-inch iPhone 6 — and we don’t even have “solid evidence” of an A7 chip. In fact, just last month, the rumor mill was pumping out rumors of the A6X chip being in production.
Perhaps the most sober and reasonable analysis of the iPhone release schedule for 2013 has come from Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty, who postulates that Apple will capitalize on the low overhead needed to release a refreshed iPhone 5S in 2013 — just as we’ve seen Apple do in the past with the iPhones 4S and 3GS. Ms. Huberty notes that, ‘[t]he 10-Q discloses $904M of commitments for equipment purchases compare to $4.5B just two quarters ago when Apple invested in new in-cell touch displays for the iPhone 5. The decrease is likely due to iPhone 5S not requiring significant hardware changes, therefore iPhone GM could be much higher in C2H13.” Isn’t this a more reasonable assertion than the idea that Apple will reinvent the wheel once again in 2013 with a totally revamped iPhone 6?
More reasonable, yes. But not nearly as exciting.
It certainly isn’t an impossibility that we could see an iPhone 6 in 2013. But to date, the only information fueling this notion of an iPhone 5S/iPhone 6 dual release in 2013 are the hopes and dreams of a few cowboy tech analysts and iPhone fandom. Also, to release an overhauled iPhone 6 a year after the overhauled iPhone 5 would be a bit of an epic fail for Apple — a capitulation that their new iPhone design was indeed a failure.
Look instead for a “colorful” update to the iPhone 5 in the late Spring or early Summer, followed by the iPhone 5S in the late summer. Sure, we can talk about the iPhone 6 having a big screen — but it’s more likely that we won’t see it until 2014.
By Michael Nace