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Is the iPhone 5S Ahead of Schedule?

Wall St. Cheat Sheet By Mark Knapp 2013-05-15 17:40:07 

One analyst seems to believe the next iPhone could be coming out just a bit sooner than Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) would lead us to expect. It could be here just before autumn, and it might not be alone.

Jeffries analyst Peter Misek checked around with informants on Apple’s supply chain to gauge when production of the iPhone makers next products would get started. For the rumored iPhone 5S, he came up with a release date in late June or early July for the production to begin, and added that a low-cost iPhone could also be matched with that timeline.

The iPhone 5S is likely to be very similar to the current iPhone 5 esthetically. As the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S had almost no differences on the outside but had specific component upgrades and software additions, the iPhone 5 and iPhone 5S are expected to be developed in a similar manner. So, the iPhone 5S would likely be the same look as the current generation, but may have a stronger processor, increased memory, and a upgraded camera. Rumors have been going around for some time now that the device is most likely going to include a fingerprint sensor as well, which could open up a lot of possibilities for Apple to delve into mobile payment applications.

Based on his informants’ information, Misek suggested 25-30 million iPhone 5 units would be produced in the second calendar quarter, 25-50 million units in the following quarter, and then reach 60-65 million units in the calendar fourth quarter — in time for the holidays. Shipment estimates for the second, third, and fourth calendar quarters are 25 million units, 30 million units, and 50 million units, respectively.

The next iPad could also be seeing a similar timeline to the iPhone 5S, though with slightly smaller production and a slight lag. Estimates show 20-25 million units produced in the second calendar quarter, 25-30 million in the third, and 30-35 million in the fourth. Shipment estimates were 18 million, 21 million, and 27 million for each respective quarter.

In Apple’s earnings call last month, Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook made it seem as though Apple wouldn’t have any new products out until autumn. Misek’s estimates suggest new devices could come out in late August or early September, as it usually takes between 60 and 90 days for the device to go from production to retail.

Joining the next iPhone and iPad might be the widely-rumored low-cost iPhone. Misek suggested that it could have a 4-inch screen and technical specifications that are slightly reduced, allowing for the reduced price. He also suggested that it could be the device that breaks the seal of China Mobile (NYSE:CHL), the world’s largest mobile carrier. This, combined with other new devices, may be able to slow Apple’s losses of market share to Samsung (SSNLF.PK).

Here’s how Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) traded on Tuesday:

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