iPhone 5C introduction (Martin Hajek 001)

According to The Wall Street Journal, Apple has apparently asked Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. – better known in the Western world under its Foxconn moniker – to start shipping new iPhones early next month. It’s going to be a crowded September: next month is IFA 2013 so expect gadget makers to flock to Berlin, Germany to talk new products.

And earlier in the morning, Bloomberg reminded us that Sony will be releasing a new Erisccon handset in September. Plus, we know from before that Samsung is gearing up to unveil a third-generation Note phablet and a rumored Galaxy Gear smarwatch at its own media event on September 4

The WSJ story asserts that “Apple has asked supplier Hon Hai to begin shipping a new high-end and low-end iPhone in early September.”

The high-end version should be called the iPhone 5S and a rumored low-end version is apparently named the iPhone 5C and comes with a rear plastic case in multiple colors.

Apple’s suppliers in Asia started mass-producing components in June for both a standard iPhone featuring a metal casing and a lower-cost version, people who work at those companies said.

Stating the obvious, WSJ’s people familiar with the matter claim the shipping plans suggest that both new iPhones “could be launched as soon as next month, ” but cautioned that it isn’t clear whether the company would launch “both iPhones the same day or initially opt to showcase just one device”.

gold iPhone Shop Le Monde

The AllThingsD blog (owned by WSJ’s parent News Corp.) confirmed this morning that the iPhone 5S will be offered in a gold tone being described as “elegant” and “champagne, not ingot”. In our little non-scientific poll, roughly a third respondents said they’d buy their iPhone 5S with a gold colorway.

Earlier in the day, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo estimated that 5.2 million iPhone 5S and nearly 8.5 million budget iPhone units will be shipped during the third calendar quarter. But by the fourth quarter, the analyst forecasts 28 million iPhone 5S shipments and 18.7 million low-cost ones.

He expects the iPhone 5C to retail between $400 and $500 versus the $600-$700 price range for the unlocked iPhone 5S. The 5C, he said, will phase out the current iPhone 5.

Analysts have been saying for some time that a lower-cost iPhone – a device priced more aggressively than the unlocked $450 iPhone 4S and sold off-contract and unsubsidized – is very much needed at this point in the game, particularly in emerging countries such as China and India.

WSJ somehow thinks this points to “a strategy shift” as Apple attempts to “regain its momentum in the smartphone market” because the company “hasn’t previously announced different iPhone models around the same time”.

iPhone 5C (pink, front, Martin Hajek 001)

It’s seemingly unbeknown to the credulous paper that Apple’s never announced two new iPhone models simultaneously. Authors are also ignoring the fact that last year’s iPhone 5 was announced on September 14, becoming available a week later.

Apple is expected to share some iPhone-related news at a media event reportedly scheduled for September 10 so I’m not sure how a September iPhone announcement / release marks “a strategy shift” for anyone but WSJ’s click-hungry editors.