Just about every notable firm has taken a crack at pinpointing Apple’s (AAPL) release schedule for the next-generation “iPhone 5S,” and reports have ranged from June to October. While some are more reliable than others, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has a better track record than most when it comes to accurately reporting Apple launch timeframes and other details. Ming-Chi said in a note earlier this year that Apple’s next iPhone would launch toward the end of the summer alongside a cheaper iPhone model, and he reaffirmed his position in a research note delivered to clients early Tuesday morning.
“We expect Apple will introduce its new iPhones and iOS7 in June, and start shipping the new iPhones (5S and low-cost model) in the FDD version in July,” the analyst wrote in his note, which was picked up by MacRumors. “Both dates are earlier than last year’s roadmap. We attribute this to: (1) an effort to avoid repeating the fatal mistake of last year of the delayed iPhone 5 launch, which gave competitors room to grab market share; and (2) the new iPhones this year are mainly designed on the basis of the current iPhone 5, which suggests development time could be reduced.”
Where specs are concerned, the 5S looks to be a 4S style upgrade in that we’re likely looking at a bump in specs with no major external design changes. Ming-Chi does state that the new model will feature some type of fingerprint scanner beneath the home button, however, which could pave the way for an exciting new feature set.
“We expect the product differentiation between iPhone 5S and iPhone 5 will be: (1) computing power, with iPhone 5S to run on the faster A7 application processor; (2) the camera, with iPhone 5S being equipped with Smart Flash, ensuring photo quality using white or yellow flash according to lighting conditions; (3) iPhone 5S will have a fingerprint chip under the Home button, improving security and usability; and (4) the low-cost iPhone 5 hybrid casing of fiberglass and plastic will make it lighter and slimmer than general plastic casing and easier to make in various colors,” he wrote. “However, we still think it will be heavier than iPhone 5S, which will have an aluminum casing. Thus, even form factor will be an area of differentiation.”