“Low cost” iPhone is indeed set to be released later this year according to a reliable
source. This is in relation with the reports that Apple has three different phones in
Since early January rumors have been circulating about a cheaper iPhone that will be
possibly called as “iPhone 5S” or “iPhone 6”. The rumors began when a lot of reports
from supply chain sources and even major US news sites like The Wall Street Journal
and Bloomberg had an eye about the new iPhone development. The development is
said to be targeted towards lower-income, emerging markets like China and India.
This next-gen iOS were detailed by iLounge editor-in-chief Jeremy Horwitz followed
up on his last exposé of what he calls the “budget iPhone”, allegedly it will look like the
iPhone 5 but feature several new design elements and tweaks.
“Yes, it will be made substantially from plastic,” Horwitz wrote, echoing an earlier report
from DigiTimes that said the iPhone 5S or 6 would feature a hybrid chassis made of
both plastic and metal. “No, it won’t just be a Retina- and Lightning-equipped refresh of
the iPhone 3G or 3GS, Apple’s last plastic iPhones, nor will it look just like an all-plastic
version of the iPhone 5. This new model is actually a cross between the iPhone 5, fifth-
generation iPod touch, and… wait for it… the iPod classic. Yes, really. It will have a 4”
screen, like the iPhone 5, a bottom like the latest iPod touch, and a shape that’s most
similar to the iPod classic.”
The new iPhone’s internal parts could “be seen from the outside through a special
design; if this turned out to be true, the finished design for the “iPhone 6″ might look
like an iPhone 5 mixed with the plastic enclosure of the iPhone 3GS from 2009, mixed
with the final design for the “Bondi blue” iMac in 1998, which was characterized by its
brightly colored, translucent plastic casing, letting users see the inside of their desktop
computer for the first time, according to the original DigiTimes report.
The new low-cost iPhone 5S or 6 is said to feature nearly identical specs to the iPhone
5, but “a half-millimeter taller and a half-millimeter wider,” according to Horwitz, as well
as a full millimeter thicker. But iLounge noted that the biggest design change in this
cheaper iPhone will be the curves.
“Apple’s budget housing looks closest to the iPod classic in shape, though not in
materials,” Horwitz said. “Unlike the plastic iPhone 3G/3GS, which featured soft curves
on all sides, the budget iPhone’s curves start and end at flat surfaces, so each side and
the back are flat. This seems like a trivial change, until you realize that it allows Apple
to use flat rather than curve-matched parts: the right side has a flat, centered SIM card
tray just like the iPhone 5’s, while all of the buttons and ports are on flat rather than
curved surfaces. A flat-backed iPhone won’t rock on a flat surface when it vibrates,
Adding up to the new form factor the iPhone 5S or 6 will have very similar features
to the iPod Touch, including identical proportions and locations for the camera,
microphone, and rear flash, this is in accordance with Horwitz belief. The new phone is
said to have an extra microphone on the bottom, as well as four individual holes for the
speaker grill, rather than the 26 speaker holes at the bottom of the iPhone 5 but other
than this the headphone jack, Lightning dock, bottom microphone and speaker are in
the same location as the iPhone 5.
“In summary, the budget iPhone will look a lot like an iPhone 5 from the front, an iPod
classic from the side, and an iPod touch 5G on the bottom—only made from plastic
rather than glass or metal,” Horwitz concluded. “It won’t make any bold departures from
past Apple designs, but then, it’s supposed to be an inexpensive iPhone, and achieves
that goal pretty much as expected.”
Why Apple Needs This Low-Cost iPhone
Apple’s Q1 2013 income was still not enough to alleviate the concerns of investors
and analysts, and its retreating stock is a reflection of that regardless of breaking all
previous quarterly earnings records held by the company. And to aid this poor stock
fortunes, they need to prove that it can still expand and they thought that this cheap,
low-cost iPhone is the solution to the problem.
Horwitz wrote in his Friday report, “One of our sources claims that Apple’s iPhone
prices remain too high for most mainland Chinese customers—the iPhone 5 hardware
alone starts at $849 there, versus the iPhone 4 at $500, in a country where the average
annual salary is around $3,000 per person). The source has said that mainland
Chinese iPhone 5 sales are already tapering off as a result of the pricing, which is
higher than in Hong Kong. A budget iPhone model would help sales in populous but
underdeveloped countries to grow.”
Either bigger like Samsung Galaxy S III or smaller than iPhone Nano, Apple can now
afford to build an entry-level to mid-range smartphone on top of the current iPhone.
This is now possible because of the newer, smaller, cheaper and more efficient
chipsets. This is done to charm the market that cannot quite afford Apple’s most
popular product, including many in China. And now that small devices are chic and
trendy to Asian markets it smaller iPhone will appeal to them.
Apple is eager to make it with China. As a matter of fact, there had been reports that
the company is trying to strike a deal with China Mobile. China mobile is the largest
telecommunication carrier in the world with 703 million active subscribers, to build a TD-
LTE version of the iPhone to work on the carrier’s high-speed networks. According to
the report, on Jan. 10, Apple CEO Tim Cook stopped by China Mobile headquarters to
meet and discuss “matters of cooperation” with Xi Guohua, the company’s chairman.
Together with DigiTimes Topeka Markets analyst Brian White also believes that Apple’s
working on a newly sized, low-cost iPhone, he said on Jan. 2 that Apple is likely to
release its next iPhone in more colors and screen sizes, implying Apple might sell an
iPhone smaller or larger than the current iPhone 5, or even previous-gen iPhone 4S or 4
“Although Apple offers a 4-inch screen on the iPhone 5 and a 3.5-inch screen on the
iPhone 4S and iPhone 4, the company has never offered multiple screen sizes for a
single model,” White said. “We believe this is about to change with the next iPhone
offering different screen dies that we believe will allow Apple to better bifurcate the
market and expand its reach.”
There is a big chance that we could see a cheaper iPhone 5S or 6 that will be launched
later this year. Judging from Apple’s urgency to strike a deal and in addition to rising
number of rumors saying that 2013 would be its release date it is really pointing to one
iPhone 6: What We’ve Heard So Far
to add to the anticipation of the market, aside from the all-new, low-cost iPhone , Appple
is also expected to release an updated iPhone 5 this year. And depending on what
else Apple is yet to release, whichever they decide the new iPhones will earn the labels
iPhone 5S or iPhone 6.
“The iPhone 5S is still months away from mass production, but our source suspects
that the star feature will be an upgraded rear camera—perhaps featuring Sony’s 13-
Megapixel sensor, plus the aforementioned flash upgrade—along with a processor
bump,” Horwitz said last week. “Current prototypes are codenamed N51 and N53, with
July mentioned as the target date.”
The one rumor that may charm the market to this new iPhone is said to include
an integrated fingerprint sensor to replace the need for usernames and passwords on
the phone. Horwitz’s report may be accurate but based on what we heard the biggest
focus of the iPhone 5S or 6 will actually be the home button.
The iPhone has only unlike other smartphones with multiple bottoms on the bottom.
The one mechanical button on its face makes it exceedingly easy and intuitive for users
to find and use this feature making the fingerprint sensor great logical sense to be
an iPhone 6 feature. And as noted in the company’s own filing to the SEC, Apple is
acquiring Floroda-based AuthenTec last July, given this fact there’s an excellent chance
that we’ll see this unique feature in the iPhone 5S or 6.
According to KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo – one of the best at the business at
predicting Apple’s product pipeline – the iPhone 5S or 6 will also feature a number of
notable upgrades besides the fingerprint sensor, including a new A7 processor from
Apple, and a new f2.0 aperture on the rear side camera with an advanced “smart LED
flash” for enhanced photo-taking.
There is also rumor roaming that Apple is investing a great deal of time, energy and
money on the display for its next-gen iPhone 5S or 6.
Apple might switch to a “Touch On Display” panel currently in development at Taiwan-
based Innolux Corp., which has reportedly been licensed to use Sharp’s proprietary
IGZO display technology, a Jan. 3 report released by the China Times.
Apple is most likely going to feature Sharp’s ultra-thin IGZO display technology in its
next iPhone but it is yet to find out whether or not Apple chooses Innolux to make the
next iPhone’s screens.
Apple analyst Horace Dediu and DigiTimes both mentioned in late December that
Apple’s alleged investment in the ultra-thin IGZO displays produced by Sharp. Apple
is calculating the addition of technology in Apple’s next batch of iOS devices, including
iPhones and iPads. Dediu also pointed to Apple’s recent $2.3 billion investment in
“product tooling, manufacturing process equipment and infrastructure,” believing the
cash was used to help bail out Sharp, which had been in financial straits in 2012. Sharp
is reportedly going “all in” on IGZO technology, so it’s possible Apple saved Sharp to
leverage its investment in the next generation of displays.
IGZO display technology can handle higher screen densities than Apple’s Retina
display aside from being thin and tough and before anything it is visually stunning on its
own. The new iPad 4 can only achieve 264 ppi but IGZO displays can reportedly handle
display densities north of 330 ppi.
Apples main concern to its devices are they all seem to be power-hungry this is
because current-gen Retina displays are extremely power hungry and one of the
advantages of IGZO display technology is its lower power consumption. IGZO seems
to be the way to go for the next generation of iOS devices if Apple wanted its iPhone 6
to not only last longer during the day but also charge faster when plugged in.
To give credibility to these rumors, Taiwan-based AU Optronics (AUO) reportedly plans
to develop a Retina display for the next-generation iPad Mini, which may require IGZO
technology to make such a Retina display feasible.
Moreover, aside from the rumors about the display, we have noticed a few interesting
patents although there haven’t been too many other legitimate reports on the iPhone
6: A patent filed in March but published last September described tactile keyboards,
flexible displays and laser microphones and speakers built into an iPhone, designed to
conform to the user’s needs. Flexible displays would allow for easier holding and typing,
while the highly advanced tactile screens would create buttons when needed so users
can feel “keyboard” letters as they type, or touch the topography on Apple’s Maps.
Just thinking about it makes it fun, we could just wish for Apple to include all these
technologies in this year’s iPhone 5S or 6 rather implement them over time, one by one
to every new model they produce.