MacRumors reported today that KGI securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo made his predictions for Apple’s 2013 products and shipment lineup. According to Kuo, the iPhone, iPad, and iPad mini will get new models by the third quarter of this year with a “cheaper” model iPhone launching at the same time.
Kuo predicts that Apple will launch an iPhone 5S and an iPhone 5 refresh around June or July of 2013. The iPhone 5S will feature an A7 processor chip, a fingerprint sensor, and improved camera performance with a smart LED flash. Kuo believes that Apple will launch a repackaged version of the iPhone 5 that is thicker, plastic, and available in six different colors.
Some of Kuo’s predictions will likely be true, but there is little chance that Apple will launch a brand new, low-cost iPhone. The company always reduces the price of older models so that consumers can still buy one without paying the high cost of a brand new one. Carriers offer even better deals. Currently, AT&T is offering an iPhone 4 for $0.99. You can’t get any cheaper then that. Why would a company that is known for top-quality products release anything less than its best? And color options for the iPhone? Forget about it. Apple tried that with its candy-colored line of iMac 3Gs in 1999 and only college girls wanted them. Apple won’t make that mistake again.
There is a chance that Apple’s suppliers have a new chip ready for use, but it is doubtful. The A6 chip is brand new and probably won’t be replaced in 2013. It is more likely to land in a new model phone in 2014.
The fingerprint sensor technology on a touchscreen device is like Big Foot. No one has seen it so it probably doesn’t exist. Sure, Apple is probably testing some technology that may, someday, be included in devices, but not this year, and probably not for a few years to come.
There will probably be an upgrade to the camera features. There will be LED yellow and white flash, there will be and upgrade to the aperture speed of the rear camera. What Kuo left out was an upgrade to the front-facing (or FaceTime) camera. This will probably get tweaked to include a 2 MP improvement, but nothing else.
There will not be a plastic iPhone launch and the iPhone 5S will come out in late October or early November instead of the middle of the summer.
Will Apple throw us another iPad in 2013? Yes, but not until the fourth quarter. Kuo predicts that Apple will announce a fifth-generation iPad and iPad mini with Retina by the end of this summer. That is too soon. Apple already burned us by launching the current model iPad less than a year after the third-generation launch. The company will politely wait until late October or even early November before launching another iPad. Aside from the timing, Kuo’s prediction of a thinner design for the full-sized iPad alongside an iPad mini with Retina display is probably right.
One think Kuo left off the list was an Apple-built television set. Many analysts are predicting that the elusive “iTV” will launch this year. Kuo’s omission is likely to be more correct than not. Apple might have a television set up its sleeve, but we won’t see it until at least 2014, maybe even 2015.