It looks like Apple (AAPL) will finally break from its historical launch pattern and release two new iPhones in 2013, including the “budget iPhone” that Wall Street has been starting rumors about for at least three years now. Numerous reports from newspapers, blogs and sell-side analysts have insisted that Apple is planning a new entry-level iPhone model that will launch alongside the “iPhone 5S” this coming summer. A recent report from a plugged-in industry watcher suggested the affordable iPhone will be released in the late summer months featuring a plastic case and the same 4-inch Retina display from the iPhone 5, but a new note from RBC Capital claims otherwise.
“Our supply-chain checks indicate that AAPL is working to launch multiple new phones in the June/July time-frame this year,” RBC Capital Markets analyst Amit Daryanani wrote in a research note on Friday obtained by BGR. “Specifically, [Apple] will launch the iPhone5s and a more affordable but lower-end iPhone at the same time, in either late CYQ2 or early Q3.”
Daryanani’s timeline jibes with a number of earlier reports, but his checks have turned up specs that include one key difference: The display.
“The low-end iPhone will have the same 4″ form factor as the iPhone5 but will have plastic casing and no retina display,” the analyst wrote. “With a lower price-point, [Apple] will be able to target a growing and important part of the Smartphone market (sub-$400 price-band). The product may have lower [gross margins] than iPhone5/5s but should be accretive to [Apple's] corporate [gross margins] of 38%. Hence, we estimate this could contribute $22B in revenues and $5.00+ in EPS in CY14E, which suggests the product could be worth $50+ to [Apple's] stock price.”
RBC maintained its Buy rating on Apple shares with a $600 price target.