Apple's next iPhone release is likely to happen in late June, according to a longtime Apple analyst.
According to a new forecast from Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster, Apple's iPhone 5S will arrive next quarter with a low-cost iPhone version to follow sometime in September. According to Munster's forecast, Apple will sell around 4 million iPhone 5S units before the end of the month, which would be a significant decrease from the 5 million iPhone 5 devices sold in the product's opening weekend last September.
The iPhone 5S is likely to follow Apple's pattern of interim iPhone releases, according to Munster, which usually ship with a faster processor, new software features and a higher-megapixel camera. Bigger features such as biometric security will likely be saved for the iPhone 6; Apple last summer purchased mobile security firm AuthenTec , which makes fingerprint sensors and identity management software, for $355 million.
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Perhaps more importantly, Muster predicts Apple will introduce a cheaper iPhone model sometime in the September quarter. Rumors and reports of a discount iPhone have been swirling for months, despite denials from Apple.
Last month at the 2013 Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference, Apple CEO Tim Cook was asked about a cheaper iPhone model. While Cook didn't confirm or deny the company was planning a discount iPhone, he did say Apple was looking at lower price points for some of its products. Shortly after the conference Apple reduced some MacBook prices.
"We are making moves to make things more affordable," Cook said at the conference.
Munster predicts the discount iPhone, which will ship unlocked without a wireless service contract, will be priced at around $250. Currently, an unlocked iPhone 5 starts at $649 for the 16-GB model.
Not everyone is convinced the iPhone 5S is coming in June, however. According to iMore, Apple has scheduled the next iPhone launch for August, with newer iPad releases possibly coming this spring.
PUBLISHED MARCH 26, 2013