When Apple releases the new iPhone in September, which is it going to be: a modest speed bump called the iPhone 4S or a major update called the iPhone 5? Both, according to one analyst. Is he nuts?
In a note sent out to clients this morning, Deutsche Bank analyst Chris Whitemore speculates that Apple will announce two separate phones.
One will be the iPhone 4S, a slight upgrade over the iPhone 4 (maybe just the processor), which Whitemore says Apple will sell for $349 unlocked . The iPhone 5 will be the real shebang: an upgrade as much of a generational leap forward over the iPhone 4 as the iPhone 4 was over the iPhone 3GS.
Whitemore claims that given Nokia and RIM’s recent struggles, “the time is right for Apple to aggressively penetrate the mid range smart-phone market (i.e. $300-500 category) to dramatically expand its [total addressable market] and market share.”
He might be right about the time being right for Apple to enter the mid-range smartphone market, but if Apple does, it’ll call for an entirely new device such as the streaming-only iPhone nano we exclusively reported on back in February.
Either way, the idea that Apple would sell the iPhone 4S hardware at a $349 unlocked price point is just stupid. Apple just started selling unlocked iPhone 4s for twice that amount, and that’s a year old phone. Apple being as good at profit as they are, we have no doubt they could build an iPhone 4S that would be profitable to sell at $349, but Apple didn’t get good at profit by undervaluing their hardware or settling for a buck when they can settle for a hundred.
We say this guy’s nuts. Apple will release just one handset in September, and it’s likely to be a modest speedbump over a superphone upgrade. But what sayest thou? Let us know in the comments.