Perhaps the iOSphere is exhausted or suffering a post-adrenaline crash, but some this week have actually suggested that consumers will ignore iPhone 5S, setting their hopes on the Radically New and Innovative iPhone 6 in 2014.
Analysts and pundits seem nearly paralyzed with dread at the prospect that buyers will not be lining up at Apple retail stores to buy the 2013 iPhone. How could the world have come to such a pass?
And this despite the promise of still more Killer Features for the Next iPhone, which were revealed this week thanks to new published Apple patent applications, although the applications nowhere mention the iPhone 5S or iPhone 6.
Also this week: surprising, not to say stupid, speculation that once Apple announces the Next iPhone, including the new Plastic iPhone, it will cancel iPhone 5; the awesome spectacle of a rumor being born before your eyes and then strangled; and new iPhone 6 fan art that finally reveals a use for flexible displays.
You read it here second.
__________"The consumer reaction to iPhone 5S is, of course, unknowable at this point, but we worry this could be the first iPhone launch that doesn't generate lines on launch day."~ Chris Caso, Susquehanna Financial Group, and Chief iPhone Worrier, who fears that having sold millions of innovative iPhones ever year since 2007, Apple will succeed finally in launching one that consumers don't care about.__________
iPhone 5S will be greeted without the usual lines of buyers outside stores
If an iPhone is announced and no one lines up to buy it, is it really an iPhone?
"Call it blasphemy, but Apple's next-generation smartphone could be the first iPhone model to debut without the usual lines of buyers outside stores on launch day," declares Patrick Seitz in a post at Investors.com. http://news.investors.com/technology-click/072513-665112-apple-customers-might-wait-for-iphone-6-to-upgrade.htm
[IPHONEYS:The iPhone 6 & iPhone 5S edition]
And it's not just his opinion. There's a stock analyst, Chris Caso, of Susquehanna Financial Group, who share his opinion. In fact, Caso seems deeply, deeply worried.
"The consumer reaction to iPhone 5S is, of course, unknowable at this point, but we worry this could be the first iPhone launch that doesn't generate lines on launch day," Caso wrote in a Note To Investors this week.
That's because they'll be so disappointed in the 5S that they'll decide to wait until the Majorly Upgraded iPhone 6 is released in 2014.
"The iPhone 5S is expected to be an incremental release, with the same look as the current iPhone 5 but with new components and features," according to Seitz, who shows just how conventional Conventional Wisdom really is. "The most talked about potential feature is a fingerprint-reader for security and perhaps mobile payments."
Frankly, The Rollup is quivering...just quivering...with anticipation over this most-talked-about fingerprint reader. If that doesn't spell "breakthrough killer awesome magical feature" what does?
"Apple's next major update won't be until the iPhone 6, which could ship in early 2014, Caso says. That phone is likely to feature a bigger display to compete with handsets from Samsung, HTC and others that have 5-inch screens." That makes perfect sense. The world's best selling smartphone model needs to compete with all those other models that are each selling fewer units than Apple is.
According to Seitz' post, Caso believes that the "most compelling" iPhone feature that Apple could offer is a larger screen. "My thesis is that it comes next year, earlier in the year rather than later in the year," Caso says. "And that's the real reason to own Apple stock."
The Rollup's thesis is that we are fortunate that Caso isn't designing Apple's iPhones.
Caso is something of an Industry Worrier. In December 2012, he infected BusinessInsider's Jay Yarrow with worries about sales of the iPhone 5. Yarrow sounded close to despair in his post. "Apple's stock is down today, and the reason seems to be another brutal report about the state of iPhone demand," he began.
"But there's something about Caso's report that's stronger than the other reports we've read," he continues. "Maybe it's that he's more through and convincing. Whatever the case may be, it sounds really bad for Apple."
Really bad. Really, really bad for Apple.
"From our perspective, the difference seems to be that Caso isn't alone in his call. Lots of analysts are worried about iPhone 5 production and demand."
Lots of analysts. Lots and lots of them.
Caso's report then was especially worrying to Yarrow because it was different. The difference is, first, that it's stronger than the other reports and, second, because it's...uh, just like the other reports.
The only problem with this worry is that it was, and is, completely unfounded. Because people, who aren't analysts and bloggers, have been buying iPhones in very large numbers.
The iPhone 5, announced in September 2012, was widely and wildly trashed by bloggers, tech sites, analysts for looking so much like the iPhone 4S and lacking stuff like near-field communications and a 5-inch screen and mobile payments and a quad-core processor. It seemed like everyone was unhappy with it...except for the millions and millions of people who bought it. And the other millions who went out and happily bought iPhone models that were one and two years old iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S.
Apple, almost alone of the smartphone makers, seems to have created a product that people value and trust, less for some shallow idea of "innovation" and more for its reliability, beauty, quality, and capacity to do the jobs for which people "hire" it. IPhone 4S and iPhone 5 were slammed by media and analysts for lacking innovation. Yet both of those have gone on to be their best-selling iPhone models.
Seitz concludes his post with this: "Apple late Tuesday, however, reported better-than-expected June-quarter results [and record iPhone sales for Q3], and shares rose 5.1% on Wednesday."
iPhone 5S, iPhone 6 will have Killer Patented Inventions
Here's the clickbait headline at International Business Times: "3 Likely Killer Features for iPhone 6, iPhone 5S Release Date: Precognitive Battery Use, Smart Call Management & Dual-Sensor Camera."
And here's how IBT's Erik Pineda launches his post:
"New patents from Apple, approved and under processing, gave hints on upcoming power features that both the iPhone 6 and iPhone 5S will showcase on release date, likely to be integrated with the recently revamped iOS 7."
Of course, these patents, like all the others, do no such thing.
Pineda, as is typical for IBT, grabs his information from an AppleInsider post by Mikey Campbell. Pineda finally mentions that website but doesn't link to Campbell's post or, as Campbell does, to the actual patent application.
The first thing one notices in just glancing at the application is that it was filed in January 2012. Apple may indeed implement this battery optimization invention in a future iPhone, but it's not going to be in the 2013 iPhone. Quite apart from the time and effort required to make any invention reproducible cost-effectively on a mass scale, each iPhone is in development for years, not months.
Campbell gives a straightforward account of the invention described in Apple's application. "To help reduce power consumption, Apple proposes a system that can compare the estimated time period a user will spend on their device with battery reserves, determining whether the device has sufficient power to last for said period. If the battery does not have sufficient power, the system will adjust "one or more characteristics" to conserve energy."
IBT ransacks other recent patent applications and AppleInsider posts in the same way, noting one invention that lets users "actively engage on social media activities even in the middle of active call but the conversation must be put on hold prior to sharing moments captured in images. File sharing is also possible." OK. We can see how that works: talking on your phone while simultaneously updating your Facebook page or tweeting. Somehow.
Pineda: "Basically, the system allows access of contents in a given handset during active calls, opening up a gateway for the following: pictures, music, videos, status updates, upcoming calendar events and location information while talking...." Glad we cleared that up.
Yet another is an invention "that will employ multiple sensors in capturing high-quality images with fewer flaws. The invention is described as a unique technology that can interleave imaging data from two or more imaging sensors, resulting in higher quality photos than a setup with a single sensor.'"
Killer inventions each and every one, for sure. Just don't expect them as features on the 2013 iPhone.
iPhone 5S, and "plastic iPhones" release will lead to canceling of the iPhone 5
Breaking with past practice, Apple plans to announce the iPhone 5S along with its new line of "plastic iPhones" and scrap the iPhone 5, instead of continuing to offer one version of it at a discount.
At least that's how MacRumors' Richard Padilla interprets a barflegabbing Google Translation of a post at Korea's ETNews.com.
"Apple has been presumed to be discontinuing the iPhone 4 and 4S in order to make way for an all-Lightning [dock connector] iPhone lineup...," according to Padilla. The fate of the current iPhone 5 has, however, not been the subject of much discussion as it has remained unclear whether the new lineup of iPhone 5S and plastic iPhone would leave room for Apple to continue offering an iPhone 5 model."
In just two sentences, Padilla presents a mare's nest of casual and confident assumptions, all largely unexamined in the rest of his post. The reason that it's not been the subject of, from the rollup can tell, any discussion until now is that it doesn't make a whole lot of sense.
The Google Translation of the ETNews post in Korean is here.
Based on the translation, Padilla writes that "Apple will be discontinuing production of the iPhone 5 in the fall, instead putting all of its efforts towards the iPhone 5S and the rumored entry-level plastic iPhone." Presumably because there's no "room" whatever that means for continuing a lower-priced iPhone 5 if you have those cool low-priced Plastic iPhones that the world's value-conscious proletariat is so anxiously awaiting.
Yet, for its current fiscal year, Apple's iPhone sales have been buoyed by strong (surprisingly strong, to many) sales of iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S, especially in emerging markets, according to Apple CEO Tim Cook, in the company's recent third quarter earnings conference call.
"Apple already sells millions of discounted smartphones, said Michael Levin, co-founder of Chicago-based Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP): They're the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S," reports Computerworld's Greg Keizer.
CIRP surveyed 500 U.S. Apple customers in July and found that nearly half of the iPhones bought between April and June were the older iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S models. "Together, the two accounted for 48% of all iPhone purchases, with the remainder going to the flagship iPhone 5," according to Keizer.
"Eighteen percent of all Apple smartphones sold were the iPhone 4, a 2010 smartphone that Apple and its U.S. carrier partners give away when customers sign a two-year contract. Almost double that -- 30% -- were iPhone 4S smartphones, a 2011 model priced at $99 with a contract, half the $199 of the subsidized iPhone 5."
As Levin says: "We don't understand the call for a lower-priced iPhone, at least in the U.S. You can't get lower than zero."
MacRumors' Padilla recounts that the ETNews post "claims that the in-cell technology used on the iPhone 5's touchscreen is not suitable for low-volume production,' contributing to Apple's decision to stop production on the phone and focus all of its efforts toward producing parts for newer products."
We're not sure what ETNews or Padilla mean by "low-volume" production, but based on this past year's success of the iPhone 4 and 4S, Apple could confidently expect to sell millions more units of iPhone 5, the most popular iPhone model yet released, in the year following the release of the 2013 iPhone. Even if the Next iPhone has all the Killer Features that the technorati lust for, it still wouldn't obsolete the iPhone 5, or even the iPhone 4S.
The quality of those handsets, and their continuing desirability, is revealed in the trade-in programs offered by Apple's retail partners: those programs, as Apple CEO Tim Cook acknowledged in the most recent earnings call, are lucrative for retailers because the older model iPhones retain so much of their value in the eyes of buyers.
Apple began discounting the older iPhone models starting in 2009. In the Computerworld story, CIRP's Levin says "In October 2012, just before the launch of the iPhone 5, so-called legacy' [iPhone] models accounted for 32% of all iPhone sales. Since then, the legacy share has reached or neared 50% in subsequent surveys."
"The legacy iPhones are still quite compelling," Levin argued.
iPhone 6 fan art gossip "reveals" foldable form factor
"[C]onsumers love to drool over gossip and today Pritesh Chavan's concept iPhone 6 will surely make you crazy, if not insane," writes Anuj Bhatia in a post at Gizbot. "The first and foremost, would you like to buy a 3-in-one Apple device? A good look at the concept gives you an idea of what the future looks like."
If there's one thing that iPhone fan art is good for, it's giving us an idea of what the future looks like.
iPhone 6 or 6/7 is actually the Plastic iPhone
Although not rising to the level of watching a star being created in the Carina Nebula, you can see a rumor being born from other rumors over at the iMore forums.
Earlier this month, the French tech site, Nowhereelse.fr, created a stir (as noted by MacRumors among many others) when it published photos showing what appeared to be the rear shell of the rumored low-cost plastic iPhone, in a rainbow of colors.
For one member of iMore's forum, it was like, well, like an asteroid through the window.
"It just came to me like an asteroid through a window," wrote boovish, an "iMore Beginner." "Is it so crazy that this [the plastic phones above] could be the iPhone 6/7? It would be like the 3G/S but it would come in a whole bunch of different colors to match iOS 7's Crazy color scheme."
The idea apparently struck boovish's fellow posters as exactly that: so crazy.
"That would be a HUGE backwards leap. NO WAY Apple goes this route," replied rdiddy_25.
Fausty82 was blunter. "I'm calling BS on this ... just not going to happen."
Boovish deserves an "A" for effort, though.
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