It looks like the management team won’t be the only thing Tim Cook will “shake up” during his tenure as Apple CEO. According to The China Times and various other sources within the industry, rumor has it that the Cupertino company may break away from its one-new-model-a-year tradition, and begin producing new iPhone models as soon as this December. The updated handset, labeled as “iPhone 5S,” is speculated for a possible 1Q13 release, and may to be followed by the eventual production of a new iPad as well as a possible iTV.
As The China Times’ sources indicate, given that parts for the new iPhone are already in the process of being certified by Apple, the trial production numbers for the upgraded handset may amount to approximately 50 to 100 thousand. Component suppliers currently being associated with the project include TXC, Largan, GSEO, Foxlink, ZDTCO, Flexium, Konica, and Fujikura. Foxconn, in its usual role, will be expected to assemble the final product. Production for the next iPad, on the other hand, is speculated to commence a bit later –at around 2Q12– due to the potentially larger number of “changes” that need to be implemented.
Prospects for the “new products”
With the mobile device market growing more crowded with each passing month, and with Samsung and Google rapidly launching one new gadget after another, there is little question that Apple will eventually have to release its products at a quicker pace. Whether Cook will immediately adhere to schedule mentioned above, though, remains an issue of debate. While the current iPhone 5 certainly has its fair share of issues (from the scratch prone case to the iOS map), the problems, it can be argued, are hardly severe enough to warrant the launching of an entirely updated product line. Other than adjusting to the design-induced difficulties involved in the assemblage process, chances are high that Apple will simply stick to the current iPhone 5 model for the time being.
The future prospects for the iTV, on the other hand, are a bit more dubious. The concepts for the product have been floating for the past number of months, and had even been discussed by Steve Jobs at one point, according to Walter Isaac’s biographical account of the Apple co-founder. A popular rumor associated with Apple’s iTV is that it will integrate the functions of all of an Apple user’s iOS devices and apps, and will provide a “seamless” as well as consistent smart TV experience. Reliable details concerning the TV set’s production and supply components are currently lacking, although some believe Sharp will be a main candidate to provide the display panels.
With regards to the “new iPad,” The China Times was likely referring to the retina display iPad mini. As of now, Apple’s supplying manufacturer, AUO, is already said to be in the process of making high resolution screen panels created specifically for the miniature tablet in mind. While major news regarding the other suppliers have yet to surface, Apple is likely to begin producing the new mini tablet sometime next year.
Possible Mid-to-Low-End iPhones to be Released?
To add to all of the above mentioned speculations, sources from the China Times have made a notable mention of Cook’s alleged plans to release mid-to-low-end versions of the iPhones. The new smartphones are said to be designed for the Chinese market, which is currently dominated by local brands such as Lenovo, Huwei, and ZTE. Apple’s iPhone, surprisingly, ranks as 7th overall in China, according to research from iSuppli. High pricing is mentioned as a major factor impeding the handset from succeeding within the country.