The Wall Street Journal has today claimed Apple [AAPL] plans to put the next-generation iPhone into production within the current quarter, with a "cheaper" iPhone on track for release later in the year.
The latter product -- the "cheap" iPhone Apple has previously said it has no plans to produce -- may be made available in multiple colors, the WSJ report adds.
News the company is near to entering production of the device may also explain earlier reports claiming the company had cut production of the current model -- this generated speculation iPhone sales were flat lining, which impacted stock price; but also created expectation the move hinted the imminent release of a new model -- an analysis which gained support as Apple's stock price stabilized.
The new model of Apple's flagship iPhone product appears likely to maintain the design of the iPhone 5. News the device is entering production lends further support to a summer introduction of the new model. The iPhone 5 hit shops in **September** 2012 (Error: originally wrote "October").
"Apple plans to begin production of a new iPhone similar in size and shape to its current one in the second quarter of the year, according to people familiar with the device’s production, teeing up a possible summer launch for the next version of its flagship device." (Source)
There's been lots of expectation the company would launch a new device this summer. Various analysts and bloggers have seemed to find evidence to support the thesis.
While the WSJ report matches speculation, it's quite possible the speculation is generating industry-wide speculation, and it is highly unlikely Apple will want to ship a device it is not yet confident in.
The reality is that product testing may raise hitherto unidentified issues, in which event launch may still be delayed.
Despite this the WSJ report should be considered strong evidence to support expectation of a summer release of iPhone.
Based on previous releases, I see two windows for release.
June, in the event the firm is ready to launch an offensive to boost iOS share in expectation of further expansion around October/November with anew iPhone configuration device. Which may not so much a "cheap" phone as a new product category.
If not that month then I'd expect news in July, or late August.
To be honest, it's open season on timing right now. What is true is that Apple seems intent on throwing a few dice in the coming months: constant clamors claim: a new iPhone config; Apple television; iWatch; and indeed further iPad releases.
Put reasonably, it seems clear Apple investors might consider how effective a major product introduction into a new category around every quarter for twelve months might be to regaining some of Apple's lost stock price.
I'm no investor, I don't have that sort of money, but I'm looking forward to seeing what's coming. You've all heard/read the same rumors, so what do you expect?
In tomorrow's episode: cool renderings of coloured "iPhone mini" product design concepts.
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