New word from KGI analyst Ming Chi Kuo came in today regarding the iPhone 6.
And this time, the man with the inside line on Apple’s plans for its forthcoming handset does not come bearing good news.
See, he reckons that problems producing the smaller 4.7–inch iPhone are going to have a knock–on effect with the more capacious 5.5–inch version, leading to a huge delay.
That could mean the iPhone 6 phablet edition not hitting shelves until 2015.
Kuo says that touch panel problems are slowing production of the smaller model down.
The upshot? Apple could be ready to ditch its plans to launch two new iPhones side–by–side this September.
This tallies with rumours from earlier this year that Apple was struggling to get the larger handset’s sapphire displays produced in sufficient quantities to warrant a release.
While recent reports have poo–pooed such concerns, Kuo’s track record suggests we could be looking at Tim Cook and co going for a dual launch strategy.
In doing so, Kuo thinks Apple will slash the cost of the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C in a bid to entice new customers who’ve been waiting so long for a larger screen iPhone.
But the fact is that consumers have been desperate for these new, larger phones for some time.
A survey uSwitch Tech conducted showed demand for the 5.5–inch iPhone 6 outstripped that of the 4.7–inch iteration.
And in March, during a court case with Samsung, Apple openly talked about customers ‘wanting what we don’t have’.
Namely, a phone the same size as Samsung’s larger models.
So, what can Apple do?
One approach would be to launch the iPhone 6 5.5–inch at the same time as the smaller phone and then release it in smaller quantities.
But constraining demand like that could lead to damaging headlines and the kind of delays that ultimately killed Google’s Nexus 4 when it was released two years ago.
Another move could be to show it off and peg it for a later release date, much as it did with the first iPhone and iPad.
But miss that time slot and all hell would break loose among Apple’s rabid fan base and social media warriors spoiling to be upset by something, anything, that seems to raise their ire.
Lastly, it can go with what Kuo suggests is most likely.
Leave it until 2015, get everything spot on, and launch then. Sales will still be high, even if share prices slip.
Samsung is in a hole, HTC is still struggling and Google’s plans for new Android phones are unclear.
Perhaps waiting until after Christmas wouldn’t be such a disaster after all.