According to a note distributed by Deutsche Bank analyst Chris Whitmore and reported by Fortune, Apple will release two iPhone models this autumn. “With Nokia and RIMM struggling,” Whitmore said, according to Fortune, “the time is right for Apple to aggressively penetrate the mid range smart-phone market (i.e. $300-500 category) to dramatically expand its [total addressable market] and market share.”
“There are large swaths of the world – especially in Africa, Asia and Latin America, where iPhone penetration is low – where customers prefer to pay the full cost of the phone upfront,” writes Fortune.
As Whitmore sees it, an iPhone 4S that is unlocked, priced around $349, and comes with a pre-paid voice plan would “drive significantly greater penetration” into an addressable market that has grown to include 1.5 billion potential customers in 98 countries, two thirds of whom prefer pre-paid plans.
Analysts for some time have been calling for Apple to release a lower cost, pre-paid iPhone, and that Whitmore does not cite any sources or claim any inside knowledge for his two-iPhone theory.
Katy Huberty from Morgan Stanley just returned to the U.S. after undisclosed meetings in Taiwan (possibly with Apple suppliers), when she informed investors that production for the next iPhone will “begin ramping up aggressively” from August to the end of 2011, according toFortune. Based on her information, she believes these devices will be available to consumers by the end of September, and that Apple will be offering both the next-gen iPhone as well as a lower priced iPhone concurrently, according to AppleInsider.
In recent years Apple has launched its new iPhone models at its Worldwide Developers Conference in June but this year’s event was a software-only affair. Now speculation is focusing on September, when Apple traditionally launches its new iPods, and rumour season is in full swing.
What will be the prominent features/improvements in iPhone 5? The really hot features to expect in iPhone 5 include NFC, an upgraded iOS 5 with cloud-integration, music streaming and voice interface, 4G connectivity, 8MP camera, A5 processor and an embedded social networking tool.
AT&T documents leaked by the hacking group LulzSec suggest that Apple iPhone 5 will offer 4G and will be LTE network compatible.
In all likelihood, iPhone 5 will have an improved flash unit for its camera. It has been reported that Apple has reduced orders for iPhone 4’s current LED flash. Earlier, leaked images had suggested that the camera sensor and flash unit would be separated in the new iPhone.
The iPhone 5 will also reportedly have panoramic photo capabilities and 1080p Full HD videos. An iOS code section revealed recently that the next iPhone will let users take panoramic photos with the photo app. [via Huffpost, CNN, The Telegraph, IB Times, and ZD Net]