The iPhone 5 wasn’t released all that long ago, but increasingly reports are saying a follow-up could come sooner rather than later. Today, Jeffries analyst Peter Misek said in a report that his supply chain checks anticipate a launch in June/July with a March production start date. The report backs up an earlier claim from Topeka analyst Brian White, who said at the start of January that an iPhone 5S will begin production in March or April for a May/June launch.
These reports are still just analyst predictions, based on research culled from supply chain sources and other channels but generally not sourced from Apple directly, but the fact that they agree so closely on the anticipated timeframe for launch is an indicator that there could be more here than just idle speculation. Misek had previously predicted that an iPhone 5S could launch sometime in mid-year 2013, though at the time he didn’t discuss any more specific timeframe than that. Misek added that he has seen info that points to two iPhone 5S prototypes being tested, but thinks that one could in fact represent a new low-cost device, like the one that was reported as in development by the Wall Street Journal last week.
In terms of device specific, Misek didn’t have much to add, except to clarify that he’s no longer seeing evidence of a 4.8-inch screen on the upcoming device, as he mentioned in his report last month. It’s probably a safe bet to assume that if Apple is planning a mid-year refresh, it won’t go messing around with screen resolution, if only to make the issue of developer fragmentation less acute than it already is.
Analyst predictions are far from consistently accurate, but the fact that at least two are now receiving similar info about a potential iPhone 5S is noteworthy. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, the yearly update cycle might no longer be an adequate way to operate in the smartphone market, given the increase in competition from Samsung and its much more varied product line. A mid-season update makes a lot of sense, but it’s early days yet to be counting any chickens.