Going almost wholly against the flow of recent reports, Wedge Partners analyst Brian Blair has stated his belief that Apple will only release one iPhone come October, and that it will be almost, if not completely identical to the iPhone 4 in terms of looks, while including the A5 chip and 8mp camera we’ve been expecting of the iPhone 5.
“We expect the focus of the new iPhone will be iOS 5, a speedier A5 processor and a higher resolution 8 MP camera with a small possibility of a larger 4 inch screen," noted Blair. "We believe the casing will be largely similar to the iPhone with some particular modifications to the antennae [sic]. We don’t expect a second, dramatically different iPhone to accompany this as we don’t think Apple needs to have 3 models in the market to address the high end, mid-tier and low end since the iPhone 4 (with memory lowered to 8 GB) will drop to $99 and effectively attack those markets.”
Having spent a great deal of time covering Apple’s upcoming device, I have to point out the fundamental flaws in his reasoning.
Firstly, it would be immensely illogical for Apple, after months of delays and leaving consumers essentially on tenterhooks, to bring out a carbon-copy device with updated specs. How would they market it, and more importantly, why would iPhone 4 users pay large sums for a faster, mirror-image of a device which already operates seamlessly?
It’s fair to say that while the Cupertino company does focus on providing quality products, the design feature improvements are always high on the agenda, especially when it comes to advertising. Consumers would undoubtedly be bitterly disappointed to have waited for longer than expected, only to find that the end-product was essentially an iPhone 4 with hardware improvements. Moreover, those entering an Apple Store and seeing two identical iPhones would more often than not opt for the cheapest one, defeating the object of Apple’s plan to span the entire market.
Also, his theory of Apple retailing three different iPhones includes one major oversight. If Apple is to bring out two devices next month, then there is no reason why the 14-month old iPhone 4 would even continue to be sold. The idea of bringing two iPhones to attack the market on both fronts is a new strategy of Apple’s, thus eliminating the need to carry the previous device through a second year as has previously been the case. Furthermore, if one takes into account the fact that the iPhone 4S will probably be cheaper to produce than the current iPhone 4 (smaller memory, possibly cheaper parts), it just would not make sense for the fruit company to continue retailing it. Just because it’s happened before, doesn’t mean it will happen again.
Whilst it’s easy for analysts to ignore the case leaks, the rumors and the gossip in favor of the approach of checking Apple’s past behavior and general strategies, some of the previous formulae just cannot be applied this time around. Apple is changing its approach, hoping to wipe the floor with its competitors, and will probably not be dragging last year’s news around this time.