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iPhone 5 rumor rollup for the week ending March 16

John Cox | March 19, 2012
Unseasonably warm weather, as so often happens, triggered rumor precipitation in the iOSsphere.

Toshiba isn't the only display vendor working on this. Arch rivals Sony and Sharp are also, and Synaptics announced on Feb. 29 what it claims are the first volume shipments of an in-cell OEM product, its ClearPad 3250, "a single-chip touch controller for display integrated In-Cell capacitive touchscreens ... [that] eliminates the discrete touch sensor by integrating touch in the display, enabling OEMs to develop thinner smartphones."

Whether any of these are available in time and in volume enough for Apple's iPhone 5 production run remains to be seen.

iPhone 5 release date is July-September quarter

Or else the fall of this year. Sometime in there, for sure.

That's the rumor, more technically known as an "investment note," from a trio of analysts at investment banking firm Piper Jaffray, posted by Mark Long at Sci-Tech Today.

The analysts, Gene Munster, Andrew Murphy and Douglas Clinton, "have pushed back their expected iPhone 5 release date from mid-2012 to this year's September-ending quarter," according to Long.

Basically, the three guys admit they don't really have a clue. "We're uncertain whether they will try to retain the annual summer launches or have switched to an annual fall release, but some of our insight into the supply chain suggests fall," Murphy said in an email Thursday. "Also, if they don't have an iOS software Relevant Products/Services event in the Spring -- and wait until WWDC to intro iOS 6 -- then that sort of confirms that they're doing a fall launch."

And it certainly does. Sort of.

"Looking beyond 2012-2013, Piper Jaffray believes that the coming iPhone 5 will help Apple outperform the firm's prior expectation of 162 million iPhone unit shipments in 2014." That's something of an understatement. The PJs now think Apple will sell 285 million iPhones in 2014, but that will include more than whatever-the-latest-model will in that year: It will include lower-priced earlier models that Apple is increasingly pushing into prepaid markets overseas. The unit growth will be "driven by continued strength in developed markets and share gains in geographies with more prepaid users buying a $200 iPhone," according to the PJs.

Either they didn't specify the breakdown between latest-model sales and older-model sales in their projections or Long didn't report on them. But if the PJs are right, it may mean that Apple is the only company that can use older, repriced products to help power a high-growth product strategy.

iPhone 5 will have LTE

A Verizon press release is being widely interpreted as a "major hint" that the Next iPhone will support LTE.

The original foundation appears to be a brief, sketchy story on March 13 in The Wall Street Journal, by Greg Bensinger. The story essentially riffs on a Verizon press release about the carrier's plans to expand its U.S. LTE network to new markets throughout 2012.


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