Analyst: iPad 5/iPhone 5S/budget model in September, no Retina iPad mini in 2013

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KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo is fast becoming the de facto most reliable Apple watcher. Expanding on his April note which advised investors to brace themselves for a delayed iDevice roll-out over manufacturing “challenges,” his just-updated shipments timetable now offers more in way of detail.

Long story short, the analyst is expecting the iPhone 5S in late-September, but in limited quantity, with the oft-rumored plastic iPhone (he’s calling it an ‘iPhone Lite’) becoming available even sooner than the iPhone 5S in early-September because its chassis is easier to make than the two-tone iPhone 5S design.

Early September will also bring us an updated iPad 5, he said, but there will be no iPad mini successor this year due to engineering issues. As for the Mac family, Kuo sees a mid-September launch of a Haswell-enabled Retina MacBook Pro, with a Haswell-driven iMac up for a late-August introduction. The full breakdown is right after the break…

Check out the shipments timetable, part of a research note obtained by AppleInsider.

Apple shipments timetable (H22012, KGI Securities 001)

The full breakdown follows:

  1. The iPhone 5S – ongoing difficulties with the handset assembly coupled with production setbacks over “numerous components” (fingerprint sensor, much?) will affect availability following a late September launch. He noted the same quality issues had caused problems with the iPhone 5 supply post-launch.
  2. Plastic iPhone – because plastic is easier to mold and mass-produce compared to the exquisite two-tone iPhone 5S chassis, the rumored off-contract $450-$550 budget iPhone with “novel” new features should be available sooner than the iPhone 5S, as soon as early-September. He pegged 2013 shipments at 26 million vs market consensus of 30 to 40 million units.
  3. iPad 5 – the redesigned fifth-gen iPad adopting the iPad mini’s appearance will be the “highlight of iPad in 2013” when it launches in early-September (DigiTimes concurs).
  4. iPad mini 2Unlike DigiTimes, Kuo isn’t holding his breath for a Retina iPad mini because Apple hasn’t yet solved energy and performance requirements of squeezing four times the pixels in much a smaller form factor than the 9.7-inch iPad. He sees an A7 chip powering the iPad mini 2 and calls for a launch no sooner than March or April 2014. What might transpire in 2013 is a slightly cheaper iPad mini ($299?) featuring the same A5 chip a the current model, around December at the earliest.
  5. iMac and Retina MacBook Pro – having refreshed the MacBook Air around Intel’s fourth-generation Core architecture at June’s WWDC, Apple should launch a next-gen iMac at the end of August. There will also be an update to the Retina MacBook Pro lineup in mid-September. Both updates will feature the new Haswell chips and possibly other goodies.

If Kuo’s timetable is anything to go by, there should be a major Apple media event in late-August or early-September to announce the next iPhone and iPad (the iMac refresh could be handled via a press release and a website update).

So there you have it.

Sounds pretty much spot on to me.

What do you guys make of this?