Initial budget iPhone volumes could be modest

By Christian Zibreg on May 3, 2013

Look, DigiTimes is far from being accurate, but this Asian trade publication is nevertheless well-connected and occasionally accurate. According to its Friday report, Apple could initially launch a rumored less-pricey iPhone in small volumes, pegged at no more than three million units during its first quarter of availability. The publication speculates Apple could release the budget iPhone in small volumes in order to “test market response”Read More


Dubious budget iPhone plastic shell leaks

By Christian Zibreg on Apr 18, 2013

Apple’s rumored less-pricey iPhone is thought to minimize manufacturing costs by abandoning the pricey two-tone aluminum body, replacing it with a less expensive polycarbonate shell akin to the white G3 iMac – or similar to the plastic body of the iPhone 3G/3GS, if you will. Now, rumor-mills, but also big media such as WSJ and Bloomberg, have repeated this particular data point numerous times, but we have never seen any physical evidence supporting the plastic body theory.

That changed Wednesday as case manufacturer Tactus, which recently leaked purported iPad 5 shell, posted an image that allegedly represents the back shell of the budget iPhone. We couldn’t confirm its authenticity at press time so take this one with a pinch of salt, even more so knowing accessory makers often pull such stunts to get free press… Read More


Foxconn hiring assembly-line workers for next-gen iPhone production, WSJ and Bloomberg claim

By Christian Zibreg on Apr 15, 2013

Hon Hai Precision Industry aka Foxconn, which assembles iPhones and iPads for Apple, but also consumer electronics on behalf of other vendors, has started hiring assembly-line workers in the tens of thousands in preparation for Apple’s next iPhone, both Bloomberg and the credulous Wall Street Journal reported Monday.

People familiar with the matter tell the publications that the world’s largest contract manufacturer has been recruiting workers for the past month at its plant in Zhengzhou, eastern China.

The reports come following February indications pointing to Foxconn imposing a recruitment freeze across almost all of its factories in China after more workers returned from the Chinese New Year break than did last year, a move some attributed to the supposedly weakening iPhone demand… Read More


Technical challenges delaying iPhone 5S, budget iPhone, iPad mini 2?

By Christian Zibreg on Apr 11, 2013

KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who actually has a pretty good track record in predicting Apple’s product plans, has some bad news for Apple fans. In a note issued to clients Thursday, he basically wrote that Apple’s next batch of iDevice upgrades may hit the market later than originally expected due to a number of “technical challenges” related to the inclusion of fingerprint sensor beneath the Home button.

The rumored budget iPhone may be delayed because its slimmer-than-usual polycarbonate casing is proving harder nut to crack, while the second-generation iPad mini continues to face challenges with its high-resolution Retina panels. Jump past the fold for the full disclosure… Read More


First budget iPhone part allegedly leaks: dual-head vibration motor

By Christian Zibreg on Apr 11, 2013

In what could be the first physical evidence of a part that may or may not be related to Apple’s rumored less-pricey iPhone, a reliable Japanese blog has posts an interesting image of a ribbon cable with a dual-head vibration motor, obtained by repair shop iLab Factory. While the flex cable looks like it connects to the iPhone’s standard volume rocker and mute switch, it’s the rotation motor which raises hope that this particular part could belong to the budget iPhoneRead More


France Telecom CEO: gold rush is over, budget iPhone is inevitable

By Christian Zibreg on Apr 4, 2013

Apple’s rumored less-pricey iPhone has been envisioned over and over again in some damn good renderings. The rumor mills have been churning out their fair share of whispers on a regular basis and both the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg have thrown their credibility behind the meme. But despite all this crazy talk and tremendous speculation, Apple is seemingly unimpressed as the company’s marketing honcho kinda shot down the rumor, recently telling the press his company isn’t one to blindly pursue market share.

Be that as it may, analysts warn there’s only that much room to grow in the saturated high-end smartphone market. Therefore, conventional wisdom has it, Apple’s going to need a more affordable device sooner than later. This has now become a sentiment shared by one wireless carrier CEO who cautions of changing consumer behavior as a lot of folks are now unwilling to pay north of $600 for an unlocked smartphone… Read More


Colorized budget iPhone concept imagines translucent plastic shell

By Christian Zibreg on Apr 3, 2013

Apple’s rumored less-pricey iPhone has been widely reported by analysts, supply chain sources, pundits and big media as arriving later this year in a range of colors and encased in a super-thin plastic casing mixed with glass fiber. Taking it all in, concept artists Nickolay Lamm and Matteo Gianni have created created an interesting renderings depicting the four-inch device with a curved backside and a translucent plastic shell resembling Apple’s G3 iMac… Read More


Ceramic device body patent hints at budget iPhone

By Ed Sutherland on Mar 29, 2013

We are getting more hints at how Apple could create a cheaper iPhone, a device also dubbed by the press the iPhone mini and apparently meant to improve Apple’s standing in emerging markets such as India. In a new patent filing, the iPhone maker describes a production method similar to laminated fiberglass, but using ceramics. Zirconia and alumina could be combined to create a new kind of Unibody shell.

The use of zirconia would mesh both with a report earlier this month that a low-cost iPhone could include a fiberglass housing, while also potentially drawing on a 2006 Apple patent regarding zirconia as being radio transparent… Read More


Chatter hints June 20 iPhone 5S, budget iPhone launch

By Christian Zibreg on Mar 29, 2013

With Apple’s annual developers conference approaching fast, we’re starting to see some credible leaks pertaining to the iPhone 5S, Apple’s seventh-generation iPhone. We’ve already seen the leaked Home button and vibrator parts earlier this week and claimed speaker parts from before. And with analysts predicting a June launch for the device and Macotakara claiming earlier this month that Foxconn has already started the iPhone 5S production, now the same Japanese blog issues a new report that gives as the reportedly official announcement date for both the iPhone 5S and a more affordable model for emerging markets: Thursday, June 20… Read More


Analyst: budget iPhone won’t have Retina display

By Christian Zibreg on Mar 22, 2013

Apple’s rumored less-expensive iPhone aimed at emerging markets won’t just shave costs by having a polycarbonate body instead of Unibody aluminum design, it is bound to have a standard-resolution screen rather than Apple’s Retina display, like other iDevices. That’s at least what one analyst wrote in a note to clients Friday, based on the often unreliable supply chain checks.

He’s also calling for a June or July launch for both the budget iPhone and the iPhone 5S (a specs upgrade to the iPhone 5), which is the time frame that was mentioned previously in a few other recent reports… Read More


Budget iPhone: colors, 4-inch screen, super-thin plastic casing mixed with glass fiber

By Christian Zibreg on Mar 15, 2013

Apple’s budget iPhone, a rumored all-new design targeted at emerging markets where carriers rarely subsidize cell phones, will be offered in a range of colors and have a “super-thin plastic casing mixed with glass fiber”, one reliable analyst wrote in a Friday note to clients. The specs for the device were apparently decided on back in 2011 and call for a four-inch screen resembling the iPhone 5.

Dismissing talk of a 4.5-inch entry-level iPhone, the report argues Apple is “unlikely to abruptly change” its stance on screen size just because Android makers are increasingly building phablets. Jump past the fold for more tidbits… Read More


Analyst: Apple would be ‘stupid’ not to release budget iPhone

By Christian Zibreg on Mar 14, 2013

Many analysts have voiced their support for a rumored less-pricey iPhone which  they hope will help Apple recover from market share losses in emerging markets, namely China, India, Brazil and Russia – all huge markets for handsets. BTIG’s Walter Piecyk goes further, calling Apple “stupid” if it doesn’t release said device before year’s end.

By his own estimates, Apple could sell about 36.5 million less-pricey iPhones in fiscal 2014 for an additional $11 billion in revenue – and that’s after accounting for some inevitable cannibalization of the higher-priced iPhone models… Read More


Apple said to be using Qualcomm Snapdragon SoC in upcoming budget iPhone

By Cody Lee on Mar 8, 2013

If Bloomberg, The Wall Street Journal, and oh, I don’t know, about a dozen other outlets are to be believed, Apple is going to introduce a lower-cost iPhone this year. It’s said to feature a hybrid metal/plastic shell, and retail for less than $300.

Outside of those few details, though, we know very little about the handset. But a new report out of China this morning allegedly has new intel on the device, claiming it will use a Qualcomm-made SoC and go into production next month… Read More


Analyst doubles down: iPhone 5S with fingerprint sensor coming this summer

By Cody Lee on Mar 5, 2013

Back in January, KGI Securities’ Ming-Chi Kuo revealed, what he believed to be, Apple’s product roadmap for 2013. Kuo is known to have well-placed sources in Apple’s supply chain, and has been accurate in the past, so his predictions tend to carry more weight than others.

The report claimed, among other things, that Apple is planning to release an iPhone 5S—complete with faster processor, improved camera and built-in finger print sensor—alongside the long rumored budget iPhone, this summer. And today, Kuo doubled down on his claims… Read More


It’s not just iPhone 5S: budget iPhone also could come in colors

By Christian Zibreg on Mar 4, 2013

If the latest chatter coming out of Apple’s Asian supply chain is to be trusted, Taiwanese contract electronics manufacturer Pegatron – which produces some Apple products alongside primary gadget builder Foxconn – has been commissioned to build a rumored less-pricey iPhone that the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Reuters and other high-profile publications previously reported on as a done deal.

It’s been thought the device has a hybrid plastic/metal design, with the polycarbonate part of its body being similar to what Apple used on the now discontinued white plastic MacBook. And now, latest reports add colors to the mix… Read More


Barclays: budget iPhone and China Mobile-compatible iPhone 5S due in August

By Christian Zibreg on Mar 1, 2013

Per a rumor out of China, Apple won’t release a new iPhone at its upcoming summer developer conference. Instead, Tim Cook & Co. are thought to be targeting an August 2013 launch for both the iPhone 5S, a specs upgrade, and an inexpensive iPhone model, aimed at emerging markets that sell mostly unsubsidized handsets. And for the first time, the next iPhone will be Apple’s first truly world phone capable of supporting a bunch of flavors of fourth-generation Long-Term Evolution (LTE) radio technology, including China Mobile-compatible TD-SCDMA network… Read More


$330 polycarbonate iPhone said to arrive next year with 4.5-inch display

By Cody Lee on Feb 28, 2013

It’s been a while since we’ve heard any talk regarding the rumored budget iPhone. Speculation involving Apple’s secret iWatch project, and next-gen iPad models have all but taken over the rumor mill in recent weeks.

But that changes today, with a new report from Japanese blog Macotakara. The site, which has proven to have accurate sources, says that the cheaper iPhone exists, has a polycarbonate body, and will arrive in 2014… Read More


Here’s your math behind a budget iPhone

By Christian Zibreg on Feb 22, 2013

After meeting with Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer recently, Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty issued a report proclaiming so-called budget iPhone a no-brainer. Huberty joins what is now a growing list of analysts calling for such a device so Apple could better target emerging markets where cash-strapped folks mostly buy unlocked sub-$200 handsets – unlike the United States where carriers subsidize smartphones handsomely.

Thanks to these generous subsidies, US consumers don’t pay full price for the hardware – provided they agree to a long-term service agreement, of course. Now, with the penetration level for the iPhone approaching a limit in the high-end segment, the untapped low-end represents an estimated $135 billion opportunity.

Even with Apple’s margins peaking, an iPhone mini – as the media dubbed it – should triple Apple’s addressable market in China and add nearly $2.4 billion to its handset business… Read More


Piper Jaffray: Apple to debut low-cost iPhone in September quarter

By Cody Lee on Feb 20, 2013

There are currently 3 or 4 strong rumors floating around the Apple-centric blogosphere these days: the iTV, the more recently popular iWatch, and then the recurring low-cost or ‘budget’ iPhone. What’s funny is, some of these rumors have been around for years.

But if you ask The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, or anyone at Piper Jaffray, the budget iPhone will finally materialize this year. Reiterating its report from January, the firm sent out a note to investors claiming that a low-cost iPhone is on the way… Read More


Barclays says Samsung momentum ‘begs an answer from Apple’

By Cody Lee on Feb 19, 2013

It’s no secret that Apple has fallen out of the good graces of most Wall Street analysts. And with its stock price still bouncing around $250 below its last-September high, and no new products on the horizon, it doesn’t look like that’s going to change anytime soon.

I wouldn’t say Apple’s in trouble though. It’s coming off a record high quarter in iPhone sales, revenue and other metrics, and has more than $130 billion in cash. But the folks over at the prestigious Barclays firm say that it’s about time for Tim Cook to panic… Read More