Ming-chi Kuo of KGI Securities, who has a strong track record in revealing Apple’s future product plans, shared a research note on Thursday that suggested Apple’s so-called “iPhone 5S,” a rumored low-cost iPhone, and a second-generation iPad mini will all launch later than market consensus expects.
Kuo has previously forecasted earlier in January about Apple’s entire 2013 product lineup, said that new iPhone, iPod, iPad, Mac would be released in this autumn. He was targeting a June/July for new iPhone models, with a version specific to China Mobile arriving a bit later in September.
According to Kuo’s report on Thursday, these apparent delays are driven by a variety of issues:
- Fingerprint sensor for iPhone 5S. Work on finding the right color coatings in order to prevent interference with the sensor offers a technical challenge for Apple, and software integration in iOS 7 will also require additional work.
- Color coatings for lower-cost iPhone. Apple’s lower-cost iPhone has been rumored to be arriving with a plastic shell in a number of different colors, and Apple’s efforts to keep the shell as thin as possible will likely lead to production ramping issues for coatings and surface treatments.
- iPad mini Retina display. Kuo expects the second-generation iPad mini to adopt a Retina display, and technical challenges related to its design and manufacture are likely to slow Apple’s release timetable.
Kuo does not provide a new specific target date for the launches of the updated models, instead laying out a series of three scenarios modeling how Apple’s shipments could be affected based on August/September, September/October, and October/November timeframes.
As a result of these issues, Kuo said it’s likely that Apple will see single-digit growth in iPhone and iPad shipments in the third quarter of 2013. That would be well below the market consensus, which sees Apple growing its sales by between 30 and 40 percent with the introductions of new products.
Kuo’s report comes as Morgan Stanley’s Katy Huberty has released her own report projecting new iPhone launches for September following an iOS 7 preview at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) expected in June. Huberty projects that Apple will show off a new “killer app” such as mobile wallet at WWDC, with the new iPhone and iPad hardware following several months later.