There has been a lot of talk lately regarding the timeframe for the release of the next generation iPhone, presumably called the "iPhone 5", irrespective of what Apple finally decides to name it.
Until now, October was highly expected and rumored to bring the next iPhone to the fore. But if what people in the Taiwanese supply chain are saying is true, as quoted by Topeka Capital Markets analyst Brian White, the sixth-gen iPhone could be released as early as September rather than October. On top of that, the device could well be accompanied by a smaller iPad 'mini'.
In earlier reports, Piper Jaffray's Gene Munster had claimed, based on information from his contacts within Apple's supply chain, that the Cupertino tech giant would launch the next iPhone in October of this year. Many reports also surfaced recently saying that the upcoming version of the iPhone had not been finalized yet while an October release for the device was still probable.
According to a report by AppleInsider, White "is in Taipei this week, meeting with local contacts in the supply chain, and attending the 2012 Computex Show." The report stated that during conversation with his supply chain sources, White was told that Apple would have an "exciting" September, pointing to the imminent launch of the next iPhone in that month.
No Liquidmetal Frame?
The sources in the Taiwanese supply chain also told White that they thought the next iPhone would feature a unibody aluminum casing manufactured by Foxconn. White said that his industry contact was "skeptical" about the prospect of Apple using amorphous Liquidmetal alloy for the handset's body.
As iDownloadBlog has pointed out, Apple has exclusive rights to use Liquidmetal technology in consumer electronics products. However, both the manufacturing facilities and the alloy itself are not ready for production as of now.
Last month, Atakan Peker, one of Liquidmetal inventors told Business Insider during a quick one-on-one session that it would take at least three to five years for Apple "to mature the technology before it can [be] used in large scale."
Liquidmetal, made up of zirconium, titanium, nickel, copper and other materials, has a smooth appearance just like liquid, allowing for stronger, lighter and more corrosion-resistant parts. It's two times stronger than titanium and possesses the processability of plastics.
Apple engineers will be able to develop a stronger, lighter and thinner iPhone using Liquidmetal. Hitherto, Apple used the alloy to make the SIM ejector tool, which was shipped with the iPhone 3G, iDownloadBlog reported.
The features that are most likely to be incorporated in the upcoming iPhone model include a 4-inch Retina display, an A5X Variant chip, 1GB RAM, iOS 6, 4G LTE technology, Near Field Communication (NFC) technology, improved Siri, liquidmetal casing, an 8 megapixel (or even higher) rear camera, a 2 megapixel front-facing camera for video chatting and a much-improved battery life.
The Ever-Elusive iPad Mini
According to AppleInsider, White also believed that Apple could unveil a smaller iPad "mini," alongside the new iPhone in September.
Many recent reports have suggested that Apple currently has a 7.85-inch iPad in its labs, which could feature the same 1,024 x 768 pixel screen resolution as the first-generation iPad and iPad 2.
In April, technology news website TechnoBuffalo cited John Gruber of Daring Fireball, who revealed during a 5by5 podcast with Dan Benjamin that Apple was not only mulling over a smaller version of iPad, but also had a 7.85-inch iPad in its labs.
Though Gruber was uncertain if the device would ever hit retail stores, he said that Apple could possibly announce the new tablet at this month's WWDC, contradicting White's expectation.
Topeka Capital Markets has a 12-month price target of $1,111 for AAPL stock. According to White, Apple's current valuation reflects neither its growth in recent years nor its future growth prospects.
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