Apple will “likely” launch a low-cost iPhone 9 as early as next week, according to an analyst report published Friday.
Travel difficulties caused by the coronavirus outbreak may push back the release of the largest iPhone ever until late fall, the analyst said. However, other new iOS devices are still on schedule for September.
Get ready for the budget iPhone 9/SE release
Jeff Pu from China-based GF Securities pointed out in a research note obtained by Cult of Mac that the replacement for the iPhone SE was already supposed to be out. But he said in his April 9 note that the debut of this low-cost model will be “likely in mid-April.”
“There is great uncertainty in the development schedule for new 2H20 models; however upstream semiconductor suppliers also require a long production lead time. Therefore, in order to prevent inventory risks, suppliers may choose to reduce production during the initial mass production stage, and adjust future production plans according to the new schedule. In other words, reducing production may cause short-term market sentiment to be negative.”
His firm predicts this iOS handset will have a 4.7-inch screen, an Apple 13 processor, 3 GB of RAM and a 12 MP rear camera.
All this fits with previous reports from other sources that the budget model will launch on April 15, and will be a version of the iPhone 8 updated with a new processor and more RAM. Some rumors call it the iPhone 9, but there’s also evidence it will be dubbed iPhone SE instead.
But no super-size iPhone 12 in September
Pu said that Apple’s Engineering Verification Test on the upcoming 5.4-in. iPhone model and the two 6.1-in. ones have been delayed a couple of weeks. Nevertheless, the EVT for these devices will be over by the end of this month.
The news is less good for those eager to get the first 6.7-inch iPhone. Testing on this largest version won’t end until mid-May. Apple ran into problems with travel restrictions and delays in air freight flights during the COVID-19 outbreak.
But the company is apparently going to work through the challenges. Mostly. “We expect Apple to speed up the qualification process and sell three models in September, followed by the 6.7” model one or two months later,” said Pu.
The first reports of a 6.7-inch iPhone surfaced way back in September. And a 5.4-in. iPhone has been a topic of rumors since at least February.