Tuesday, March 26, 2013

iPhone 5S coming in late June; low-cost iPhone coming in September: Munster

Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster, who some consider the premier Apple analyst, projected on Tuesday that Apple will likely bring out its next iPhone in late June.

Assuming that prediction comes true, Munster thinks that Apple will sell 4 million units of the iPhone 5S before the month of the month -- and the end of the quarter. All told, including iPhone 5 and iPhone 5S units together Munster expects Apple to sell 30 million iPhones during the June quarter, which would be a 15 percent increase year-over-year (remember that Apple did not ship the iPhone 5 until September, meaning sales were already slowing by that time last year).

Munster's prediction for changes to the new iPhone are, like most, relatively minor. He expects the phone to ship with an undated and faster processor, a better camera, and -- of course -- a new version of iOS that has new software features tied to the hardware. There is, he believes, an "outside chance" that the 5S may ship with an NFC (near-field communications) chip for Passbook mobile payments.

Munster also expects Apple to ship the long-rumored lower-cost iPhone in September. This device, which analysts expect will help Apple compete with Android phones in emerging markets, would cost around $250 for an unlocked device. Compare that cost to an unlocked iPhone 5, which runs $649.

Finally, Munster, who has long been championing the idea of an Apple television set, believes the company could announce its new television sometime in the December quarter, ultimately followed by the announcement of a smartwatch. Neither, he believes, will generate substantial revenue for Apple, but they would refute the idea that Apple has jumped the shark and emphasize that the company can still develop innovative products that are capable of creating new market segments (think iPad and tablets).

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