There’s a nice batch of new rumors surrounding Apple and their iOS devices at the start of 2013. Apple dazzled us last October when they announced not only the much anticipated iPad mini, they also dropped a unexpected bomb that day. They released a reboot of the original 9.7 inch iPad, and it hadn’t even been nice months since the third generation iPad was unveiled. Maybe that was a one time thing, or maybe that’s the sign off Apple switching up their marketing scheme for iOS devices in 2013. Typically iPads release around the first or second quarter of the calendar year, however Apple changed that when they released two new iPads in October of last year. Now rumors are swirling that there will indeed be another reboot to the iPad line come this March.
Now here’s where I think the rumors really start to heat up; Apple supposedly has cut their standing orders of iPhone 5 parts in half. The running story so far has been that Apple is sustaining fairly weak sales for the the fifth generation iPhone. This isn’t completely out of the realm of possibility. Android has seen a sizeable growth over the past six months. Whether or not the numbers that say Samsung’s Galaxy series is outselling iPhones are true or not, they’ve no doubt put a dent in iPhone 5 sales with the popularity of the Galaxy S3. The Wall Street Journal posted an article which cited Apple’s ordering of 65 million orders of iPhone 5 to a mere 30 to 40 million for the first quarter of 2013. Here’s a link to WSJ’s article on Apple’s iPhone 5 cuts, which has supposedly been edited, and doesn’t include the figures I’ve just cited.
There’s a lot of talk of what this order slashing means for the next iPhone. What we do know for sure through supply chain checks is that Apple has definitely decreased their ordering for iPhone 5 parts. Is this a response to poor iPhone 5 sales? Maybe not. It could just be that Apple ordered more supply than usual for the first quarter. It could also be an indicator of what’s to come. Apple cutting iPhone 5 orders might be hinting at an iPhone reboot in the middle of the year, something we haven’t seen since the release of the iPhone 4 in 2010. Both the iPhone 4S and 5 were released in the forth quarter alongside the iPods. Perhaps Apple is planning to gain back a little leverage against its Android competitors and stagger its release schedule once again.
On the heels of CES 2013, Sony has unveiled a new flagship Android phone, the Xperia Z, that will probably be very popular if it comes to the US. Samsung is slated to potentially announce another blockbuster Galaxy S phone in the coming months, most-likely an S4. HTC is also said to be prepping a new flagship, the M7 which will probably arrive soon as well. These are all reasons Apple is most-likely going to bring a revamped iPhone out sooner than the fall schedule they’ve become accustomed to. And if anybody knows about the heat ramping up on the Android side of the smartphone market, it’s Tim Cook and his gang.
Today, Mac Rumors posted an article that outlines an analyst’s claims who’s close to Apple’s production schemes, who says Apple will indeed release an updated sixth-generation iPhone by the third quarter of 2013. They may also unveil a minor upgrade to the iPhone 5 in the middle of the year. The recent rumors are clearly claiming Apple will unveil new iPhones in June or July of 2013. As far as the iPads go, there still a bit conflict as to whether we’ll see another iPad reboot in the first half of 2013. Earlier reports are claiming we’ll see a new full-size iPad and even an updated iPad mini around March. This analyst’s claims point to an iPad update around the third quarter as well.
Now of course these are all rumors, so none of this info is set in stone, and no one is sure what Apple’s plans are for 2013. However, I think it’s safe to say Apple will likely upgrade the iPhone 5 to compete with larger screen Android and Windows phones, with a bit of a visual tweak to iOS 6 (or perhaps iOS 7) in the summer. Apple can’t afford to drop another iPhone 5S, that has an identical form factor with minor software upgrades. As the stock continues to fall, I think we can expect Apple to rebound midway through this year with new hardware, and maybe even a little light shed on their TV project. The TV project that even Brian Williams is excited about.