Apple won’t be launching a fifth-generation iPhone or the “baby” iPhone it’s supposedly developing for emerging markets until 2012, according to the latest buzz on Wall Street.
Barron’s reports that Keith Bachman of BMO Capital Markets told his clients “We believe the iPhone 5 will launch in mid-2012″ leading others to believe that only a slightly upgraded iPhone 4, dubbed by the press as the “iPhone 4S” will launch this fall instead.
Contradicting a mountain of rumors pointing at an August or September 2011 launch date for the “iPhone 5,” Bachman’s note complements the sentiments of Mike Abramsky at RBC.
In a note to clients that was obtained by Business Insider, Abramsky said he “thinks” Apple will reduce the price of existing iPhones to convert more users instead. He thinks Apple will make a carrier-subsidized iPhone 3GS free, sell the iPhone 4 for $99, and if it launches, price the iPhone 5 at its usual entry point of $199/$299.
(For a roundup of some of the most prevalent iPhone 5 rumors, browse the slideshow below.)
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Likely: Edge-to-edge screen
Likely: Mini micro-SIM card
Likely: Complete redesign
Furthermore Abramsky thinks the “baby” iPhone – cheaper, smaller version of the iPhone 4 that Apple is supposedly developing for emerging markets – won’t launch until 2012 either.
In 2009 Apple launched the iPhone 3GS, a stopgap between the iPhone 3G launch in 2008 and the iPhone 4 launch in 2010. Despite the “S” being only an incremental upgrade, it didn’t stop Apple from selling one million iPhone 3GS phones in its opening weekend, faring about the same as the iPhone 3G.
But will consumers still go for an “iPhone 4S” if they believe an “iPhone 5″ will hit stores half a year later?
Furthermore, older iPhone processors may not optimize all the software upgrades Apple plans to launch this fall, like iOS 5 and the iCloud locker and music service will launch this year.
For a deeper dive on Apple’s global iPhone strategy, read “A Little Brother for iPhone 5: Why Apple Might Do It”.