Apple’s newest smartphone, the next-generation iPhone (popularly dubbed iPhone 5), will be unveiled in September 2012 and reach shelves in October. TrendInsider forecasts shipment volume at an astonishing 58 million units for Q4’12 and 250 million for 2013.
According to TrendInsider data, Q1’12 saw 35 million iPhones shipped, while Q2 shipment volume was even lower, at 30 million units – a result of impact from increased market competition as well as a sluggish global economy. The Q3 projection is similar, but iPhone shipments are set to see explosive growth in Q4 with the arrival of the next-generation model.
According to sources in the Apple supply chain, the next-gen iPhone will feature a newly designed unibody case with a metal back, a larger screen with higher resolution, a more powerful processor, and LTE technology. It is also confirmed that the model will come loaded with iOS 6. As for the battery, suppliers have prepared high density lithium-ion batteries. Panel orders have been placed with two Japanese manufacturers and one Korean maker. As for the buzz surrounding the Liquidmetal concept, the high-tech alloy may be used for part of the case, but not the entire body.
TrendInsider supply sources indicate, Apple will give itself at least 3 months for mass production – component stocking will begin on a large scale in July, while currently only small amounts are being accumulated. From the latest leaked photos, it looks like the next-gen iPhone will have a new, smaller 30-pin dock connector, which would free up more space for the speakers and possibly a new micro USB port to comply with the EU’s micro USB charging standard. If a micro USB port is not included, Apple will likely provide an updated dock-to-micro USB adapter for the new connector.
However, will Apple and its manufacturers be able to pump out enough iPhones in time? A Q4 release will face global economic issues, and whether or not the suppliers will be able to stay on schedule remains to be seen. On the bright side for Apple, the typical 2-year contract will be up for iPhone 4 users who purchased the model when it was released in summer 2010, which should help boost sales for the new iPhone.
Apple’s mobile devices are currently the most popular products on the market. In previous years, the semiconductor industry was driven by PC products, including both desktops and notebooks, but mobile devices are leading the pack these days. With yearly smartphone shipments in the hundred millions, flash memory has already outperformed memory cards and flash drives. Furthermore, new operating system requirements will push smartphone memory from 128 MB and 256 MB to 2 GB – but it will take a lot of effort to figure out a way to fit so much memory into these small devices while still balancing performance, cost, and space considerations. New iPhone should come with at least 1GB low power DDR2 RAM, and at least 16GB or 32GB Nand Flash Storage.