March 27, 2013
Star Analyst Bites Into Apple’s 2013 Product Offerings
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
Gene Munster, an analyst for the investment bank Piper Jaffray and the loneliest iTV holdout, now claims the next version of the iPhone will be available at the end of June, only to be followed by that “cheap” iPhone in September.
In a note to investors, Munster also said that this June´s iPhone release would be the first major Apple event of the year, potentially dashing the hopes of those who expect a new and improved iPad or Retina iPad mini in April. Munster hasn´t given up hope on that iTV either. The analyst still believes that Apple will release an “actual TV” by the end of the year, parroting claims he made last year.
Many of the iPhone 5S rumors have been gravitating toward a few particular features, namely NFC, a fingerprint scanner, and the usual better camera and faster processor.
The Piper Jaffray analyst believes two of these features are very likely to show up in this year´s iPhone 5S, saying there´s only an “outside chance” that the S-Version iPhone 5 will be NFC-ready.
Similarly, Munster hasn´t written off the chance of a fingerprint scanner but believes it´s more likely to appear in the iPhone 6. Apple purchased mobile security company AuthenTec last July for $356 million. Since then, many analysts and insiders have been predicting that Apple will start using biometric security features like a fingerprint scanner in future versions of the iPhone.
Like most, Munster believes that the rumored cheap iPhone will be aimed at emerging markets. Speaking to Bloomberg, Munster claimed that Apple will release a low-cost iPhone this September, complete with a deal with the world´s largest carrier China Mobile. So far, Munster and his colleagues have been predicting that Apple will release this cheap, plastic iPhone to stake their claim in developing parts of the world — a market on which Munster believes the phone will be worth about $135. Munster also said he predicts this cheap iPhone will be available unlocked for around $250, significantly cheaper than the current unlocked iPhone 5 which is priced at $649.
“We continue to believe Apple will have a cheaper phone product to address the emerging markets,” writes Munster in his letter to investors which was obtained by MacRumors.
“In recent public comments, Tim Cook noted that the original iPod cost was $399 and eventually the company released a $49 iPod Shuffle which addressed a broader market. We believe Apple will likely introduce a cheaper device in the September quarter.”
Earlier this year, Munster placed his bets on a March release of a new iPad and iPad mini. Something has changed in the last two months, however, and he now believes that Apple´s first big release will be a June launch of the iPhone 5S.
According to Munster, if Apple does release a new iPad, they´ll do it quietly and without the usual fanfare. Presumably, this also means there won´t be any new Macs for the next few months, a move which Munster believes will cause Apple to miss their sales numbers for smartphones and computers.
Finally, Munster is once again saying Apple will release their HDTV by the end of this year, a claim he often made in 2012. As for the “iWatch,” which has been making headlines lately, the analyst suspects Apple won´t release this gadget until 2014. He also said wearable computing technology could cannibalize the smartphone market in five to ten years.