by Matt Margolis
The release date of Apple’s next generation iPhone 6 is a mystery and each analyst and blogger has their own opinion of when it’s coming out. I found one interesting rumor related to the iPhone 6 launch date that goes back to February 2013. I found it interesting that the iPhone rumors began over a year before the product is set to arrive. It also seems apparent that Apple’s 5s/5c launch were just table setters for what is likely to be a blowout product. Apple appears set to launch a 4.7″ along side a 5.5″ iPhone 6 sometime between June 2014 and September 2014 and right now I’m leaning towards the earlier of the two dates.
The oldest iPhone 6 release date rumor I could find was based on a research report issued to clients by Jefferies analyst, Peter Misek in February 2013. According to Appleinsider, analyst Misek believes Apple made an unsuccessful attempt to bump up the iPhone 6 launch into the back half of 2013 amid increased competition.
We believe a summer CY14 launch was originally planned, but Apple tried to accelerate it to stem its market share losses. The earliest Apple could have launched a 4.8” phone would have been this fall (with a target of Oct); however, our checks indicate that Apple’s suppliers are running into difficulties trying to scale the screen size from 4” to 4.8”.
Misek said scaling the in-cell screens from 4″ to 4.8″ has resulted in poor yields — meaning a significant number of display components from each batch being manufactured are not passing the company’s quality assurance tests. As such, Apple is unlikely to be able to manufacture enough of the larger 4.8″ displays to facilitate a full-blown launch of the handset until next spring.
In October 2013, Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Brian White indicated that a new big screen iPhone would arrive in 2014 as early as Q2 2014.
“Our meeting with a tech supply chain vendor highlighted a bigger iPhone is in the works, and our contact expects a launch in the 2Q:14/3Q:14 time frame,” White said in an investors note released on Thursday. “Nearly a year ago, our research in Asia uncovered early stage work on a larger iPhone, and we indicated in our Apple initiation report dated 9/4/13 that ‘a larger screen size on the iPhone is possible in 2014 that could approach 5 inches.’ Given today’s meeting, we are confident that a larger iPhone (approximately five inches) will become a reality in 2014.”
In November 2013, Susquehanna International Group Analyst Chris Caso shared the same opinion as Misek, specifically that the iPhone 6 would arrive in June, some three months ahead of the 5s/5c launch. Caso also indicated that Apple might increase the price due to the bigger screen display that will be packed in the iPhone 6.
Caso also predicted that iPhone 6 may be more expensive than the current iPhone 5S. The company may start increasing the prices of its devices next year instead of lowering it as it will put new technologies to be further ahead in the market. The analyst said the increase in price is due to the bigger screen display that will be packed in the iPhone 6. Thus, iPhone 6 price may start from more than $199.
Rumors claimed aside from a larger screen, iPhone 6 will have a sturdier display with the aid of Sapphire glass, which was used to cover iPhone 5S’ TouchID fingerprint sensor. The Sapphire glass is claimed to be twice stronger than Gorilla glass by Corning used in most Android smartphones. Also, iPhone 6 may come with wireless charging feature just like the Google Nexus 5 but with the use of solar panels.
In February 2014, International Business Times (IBT) cited analyst Sun Changxu, who felt a June launch of the iPhone 6 along with a WWDC announcement seemed likely.
Chinese Web site QQ Tech reported an analysis from analyst Sun Changxu. According to the report, the analyst predicts Apple’s production to start soon as May. It is likely that Apple will introduce iPhone 6 during the WWDC.
Recent reports claimed Apple may release the iPhone 6 around June 20. Reported features include sapphire screen, new mobile payment and a possibility of solar charging
The report also noted features such as a 4.7-inch screen and 1136 x 640 pixel display. Part of the prediction is a 5.7-inch phablet to follow the smartphone.
iPhone 6 June Launch date Fact Check Followup
- Analyst Chris Caso indicated in November 2013 that Apple would not only release the iPhone 6 in June but also raise the price of the phone. Followup: In April analyst Peter Misek reported that Apple has been working with carriers to charge and additional $100 for the iPhone 6.
- Analyst Sun Changxu back in February indicated that Apple’s iPhone 6 production would start as soon as May and would likely introduce the iPhone 6 during the WWDC. Followup: Various component makers have ramped up production beginning in Q2. Additionally, iPhone 6 manufacturer Pegatron embarked on hiring spree in March and is expected to ramp up production of the iPhone 6 in Q2.
- Nearly 3 weeks ago I reviewed Apple’s supply chain management and I noted that all of the activity occurring within Apple’s iPhone 6 supply chain are 3 months ahead of last year’s pace. The accelerated supply chain activity included; significant price reductions of Apple’s current flagship phone (5s) occurring in March 2014 versus June 2013, component makers ramping production in April/May 2014 versus July/Aug 2013, leaked images of the iPhone 6 are surfacing months earlier and one of Apple’s iPhone 6 manufacturing partners began hiring months earlier in the year compared to the hiring activity that occurred in 2013 just months before the iPhone 5s/5c launched in September.
Analysts have been forecasting the iPhone 6 to arrive in June for quite some time. The flurry of recent news and leaks i.e. (production activities, price cuts, manufacturing activity, leaked images, Apple/Carrier price increase discussions and Apple trade-in program) all are signalling an imminent arrival of the iPhone 6. Apple’s 2014 WWDC is just 3 weeks away and it might just be the perfect stage for Tim Cook and company to shock most, but not all of the analysts with an iPhone 6 product launch announcement.
Full Disclosure: I am long GTAT, Apple’s newest sapphire supplier