With AAPL's share price 'off the lows', hope is re-emerging that the company-that-can-do-no-wrong is back (23% decline aside). However, a funny thing happened on the way to the AAPL store. Digitimes is reporting speculating (via China Times) that the tech giant is preparing for trial production of the iPhone 5S in December with an iPad update shortly after. It would seem to us that Apple is scrambling - how does a three-month upgrade-cycle sync with a two-year non-free upgrade contract from the telecoms providers? It appears clear that few will participate and upgrade-cycle take-up estimates will have to be reduced. Furthermore, following in the footsteps of Bernanke's some-is-good so more-is-better strategem, we wonder whether the public will begin to adjust their behavior and delay purchase in an ever-decreasing sales loop since the iPhone 'n+1' is only a few months away...
Does this mean Apple’s been listening to critics demanding it innovate against its seemingly imitative Android competitors? Does this mean it intends raising the frequency of iPhone releases in order to stay near the head of the pack?
Digitimes reckons the iPhone 5S could enter volume production in the first quarter of 2013. However, I recall a seven month gap between initial claims of the iPhone 5 entering production and its eventual appearance, so I’m speculating a June/July introduction on strength of the title’s claims.
It seems far too soon for fresh iPhone rumors to hit the street, for a start Apple has remained pretty focused on an annual release; secondly the iPhone 5 has only been available for two months.
Conversely, it’s possible company management have decided to introduce new versions of the iPhone more frequently and perhaps striking back against the fragmented Android device market by diversifying its iDevice range.
All the same it seems highly improbable that Apple intends introducing an all-new iPhone within the next four months -- rumors like these tend to deflate sales of Apple’s current model.
The latter even makes it possible that those in competition with Apple may be attempting to seed the market with such rumors in an attempt to stifle Cupertino’s smartphone sales.
There is one other possibility: Apple may be on course to introduce a new breed of iPhone, not intended to compete with the classic model, but to widen the market with the release of a different kind of device.