The Apple [AAPL] future product road map seems a little more clear following a series of revelations across the Christmas weekend, revelations which suggest an iPad 3 model in February, a summer time Apple TV unit and the later introduction of the iPhone 5 just in time for Christmas 2012. Let's take a look at the pack.
Those recent Apple TV rumors
I think the rumor mill has churned this one around sufficiently that we're all expecting an Apple television next year. Now Digitimes tells us that manufacturers have begun ramping-up production for the components used inside the device, which is expected to go into production in Q1 2012.
"The supply chain of Apple will start preparing materials for iTV sets in the first quarter of 2012 in order to meet Apple's schedule to launch the new display products in the second or the third quarter of 2012, according to industry sources."
The report cites no sources for its claims, which predict Apple televisions will be available with screen sizes between 32- and 37-inches.
Processors will be made by Samsung, but it seems likely chips from TMSC and others will also be used as Apple diversifies its processor supply beyond the house of Samsung. Displays, for example, are to be manufactured by Sharp with Foxconn putting together the final build.
Apple seems likely to continue selling its Apple TV set-top box alongside these new televisions.
I can imagine a product like this could easily form the flagship at Apple's WWDC developer event, usually held in June/July. Developers will be interested in new opportunities for apps development for television.
All hail the iPad 3 rumormill
Does Apple plan to introduce the iPad 3 on February 24? That's Steve Jobs' birth date. I can see the symmetry to it, a fitting testament to a great leader, but there's something slightly uncomfortable about it. It's a little like navel-gazing, but that's the rumor. According to Focus Taiwan, Apple hopes to launch the iPad 3 on Steve Jobs' birthday. Fed. 24, 2012.
That's a couple of weeks in advance of the previously anticipated March launch point, so it is feasible.
"After the iPhone 4S successfully took the tech market by storm, the iPad 3 is widely expected to be Apple's first hit product to be released next year. Industry sources said the first shipment of the iPad 3 could exceed 4 million units. Because it is a new gadget, it is taking time for makers in the supply chain to raise their yield rates. The sources said all makers have exercised great caution in ensuring the smooth operations of their production lines," the report explains.
If these claims are true then it appears highly probable we're looking at the new iPad shipping in quantity by the end of March,
Dialling up the iPhone 5
The iPhone 4S is, as I've predicted, storming the Christmas market and setting new sales records. 12.5 times more iOS devices were activated over Christmas than across other weekends, according to Localytics. The device will go on sale in China in January, presumably causing another huge spike in market value.
BGR reports the iPhone 5 (with its NFC and LTE and other beautiful things) will be made available in fall 2012. The device will boast an aluminum back and a rubberized bevel, so will be slightly more robust than existing models.
The new iPhone -- which has previously been pegged for a summer 2012 introduction according to some seers -- will also boast a slightly bigger screen and faster processor.
Sales are booming, prompting Foxconn to lay down $1.1 billion on new manufacturing plant, allowing Apple to double iPhone production capacity -- even before the introduction of the iPhone nano.
One things for sure, when the new iPhone ships next October, Siri won't be a beta any more.
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