Transitioning to iPhone 5 as component orders drop
Talk about the Apple iPhone 5 continues to ramp up and we’ve been passing on all the latest developments and giving you insights into iPhone news. One of the most hotly debated questions though is when the new iPhone will be released and it seems that iPhone 4S component orders falling could be a sign that a transition to the iPhone 5 is underway.
First of all we’ll fill you in on the two main areas of focus for a possible iPhone 5 release date. Although nobody outside of Apple really knows when this will be, opinions of industry insiders and tech journalists seem to fall pretty much equally between two time frames. One camp feels that a summer release date, soon after Apple’s WWDC in June is most likely. This would mean a return to the traditional release time of the iPhones that was bucked last year when the iPhone 4S came out in October.
However at Phones Review we’ve mainly been of the persuasion that a release is still more likely in the fall, roughly a year after the iPhone 4S arrival. It would seem more plausible that Apple would leave at least a year between iPhone iterations and recently we told how Apple doesn’t need to be in any hurry to launch the next iPhone as the iPhone 4S is still achieving huge sales.
Also although the majority of consumers seem to be hoping for a reveal of the iPhone 5 at WWDC (Apple’s developers conference) Apple has made it clear that the focus of the event will be software-related such as the next iOS or Mac OS X operating systems. Indeed the consensus of most industry experts seems to be that Apple may well show of the next iOS, iOS 6, even if the iPhone 5 doesn’t show itself just yet.
However news from industry sources might suggest an iPhone 5 release is coming sooner than we expected. Apple Insider informs us of a report from Taiwanese paper DigiTimes, which often brings insider news about Apple products (mixed reliability). It seems that two companies that produce touch panels for the iPhone 4S, TPK Holdings and Wintek, anticipate that their component shipments will fall by up to 20% during the second quarter, with DigiTimes asserting that the iPhone 4S is “moving into the final stage of its product life cycle.”
This seems to reinforce rumors last month that Apple could be adopting in-cell touch panels for the next iPhone and if so then further touch panels from TPK and Wintek would not be needed. Industry insiders also say that second half 2012 shipments of touch panels from the two companies are expected to be only a third of those shipped during the first six months of the year. Cnet also discusses the DigiTimes report and how it suggests an iPhone 5 is looming and it seems that many people are now becoming increasingly hopeful that this means a summer launch.
We could look at this two ways though. Apple may simply be expecting fewer sales now of the iPhone 4S, with many customers holding off purchasing a new iPhone as hype builds for its successor. Whether the release is in the summer or not until the fall though, we still feel that people will already start to hold back and so reducing shipments of touch panels for the iPhone 4S would just seem to be sense. On its own, to us at least, this isn’t enough to indicate a release in summer rather than later in the year.
The other thing to consider is the production time frame. If touch panel shipments are falling this quarter in time for the iPhone 5, is this enough to indicate a June release rather than fall? Again, it’s difficult to tell. If this was the case and the iPhone 5 was only little over a month away, we would have imagined that the touch panel shipments for the iPhone 4S would have fallen by even more and sooner too. If the iPhone 5 is set for the fall though, then those component shipments could gradually fall again during the third quarter, just in time for the launch of the next iPhone.
It’s certainly thought provoking and of course the reduction of touch panel shipments does suggest an incoming iPhone. However to us it’s still difficult to surmise that this means a summer release any more than a fall release and we’d be really interested to hear your thoughts on this.
If you’re hoping for a summer iPhone 5 are you still prepared to wait if it doesn’t appear until the fall? We’d imagine most iPhone customers would wait but could your head be turned by a new Android smartphone such as the just-announced Galaxy S3? Maybe you want the iPhone 5 but have always imagined it wouldn’t be here until a year after its predecessor? Let us know by sending your comments.