Is Apple engineering its next iPhone to have a beach body?
It had better be, if recent rumors prove true: According to a report in Taiwan’s Economic Daily News, the so-called “iPhone 6” will come out in August, a month or two earlier than most Apple watchers had expected.
The last three iPhones — the iPhone 5s, the iPhone 5, and the iPhone 4s — were all released in either September or October. Reputable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has forecast a September release date for the iPhone 6; news sources like Reuters and Nikkei both published reports pegging the iPhone 6 for an autumn release.
If the release date rumor comes true, Apple might be trying to stem the slowdown in iPhone sales that happens every summer. Smartphone shoppers have become conditioned to Apple’s yearly cycle; typically, iPhone sales crater in the summer months as everyone waits for the newer model, a fact that Apple always points out in its quarterly results calls each summer’s end.
That behavior, in addition to stiffer competition and accelerated release cycles from competitors like Samsung, might cause Apple to speed up the release of the iPhone 6 a little bit.
The Economic Daily News also says that the display on the iPhone 6 will increase to 4.7 inches on the diagonal, and that an even bigger iPhone, with a 5.5-inch screen, will follow in September.
The part about two new iPhones coming this year — one with a 4.7 inch screen, and one “phablet”-sized iPhone later, has been previously reported. The iPhone 5s and iPhone 5 feature 4.0-inch displays, while competing phones like the Galaxy S5 and Galaxy Note 3 come with larger displays that cross the 5-inch threshold. Those phones with larger screens have proved popular with shoppers, especially in Asia. In order to compete with Samsung, Huawei, and others in the massive Asian market, Apple needs to come out with a bigger screen for its iPhone. And, according to most reports we’ve seen, that’s exactly what’s going to happen.
A 4.0-inch iPhone 5 and a much larger Samsung Galaxy Note. (Reuters)
The August release date rumor, meanwhile, could be baloney. Taiwan’s Economic Daily News is a reputable newspaper, though it has no history of predicting Apple rumors — aside from a recent prediction that Apple would release its so-called “iWatch” later this year. That lack of track record makes it difficult to investigate the likelihood of this report coming true.
For now, I’d say that September is still more likely for the iPhone 6. Until another established source of Apple rumors — the Wall Street Journal, Reuters, Ming-Chi Kuo, The New York Times — joins the Economic Daily News in reporting that the iPhone’s release date has been pushed up into summer, I’ll be working on the assumption that we’ll be seeing the new iPhone in the fall.
In other words: No need to buy a swimsuit for your iPhone just yet.