Pegatron, an Apple manufacturing partner, announced in May its plans to increase the number of workers at its plant in China by up to 40 per cent in the second half of the year, fuelling speculation about a budget iPhone, and on 14 May, Business Insider reported that Pegatron is gearing up to be the sole assembler of the budget iPhone.
Following recent meetings with Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer, Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty has concluded that Apple is likely to release the cheaper 'iPhone mini' at some stage. "We see several signs that a lower priced iPhone makes sense," she said, with the first sign being the expansion of Apple's customer base in emerging markets thanks to the iPad mini.
"Chinese consumers show a desire to purchase the latest version of the iPhone (instead of older generations)," Huberty added.
In April, a photo of a rear casing allegedly belonging to Apple's low-cost iPhone emerged online, alongside a report that suggests the cheaper iPhone could launch in October for £229, but the authenticity of this report is questionable.
We say: maybe
iPhone 5S/iPhone 6
During Apple's quarterly earnings call on 23 April, CEO Tim Cook said that Apple is working on "amazing" new products for an autumn launch, adding that Apple will introduce "exciting new product categories" in 2014.
This has led to the conclusion that we're unlikely to see the launch of the next-generation iPhone, dubbed iPhone 5S or iPhone 6, any time before autumn, unless Cook has decided that the next iPhone doesn't qualify as one of the "amazing" new offerings he mentioned.
However, despite Cook's comments, reports and leaked components that emerged in May suggested that the iPhone could arrive late-summer, with rumours that Sharp is set to begin mass production of LCD panels for the next iPhone in June, and that Japan Display and LG Display have already begun production.
Katy Huberty claims that production of the new iPhone will begin in June or July, with a September launch of the new iPhone expected.
We say: unlikely for now
iPad mini and iPad 5
It's believed that Apple is working on a Retina iPad mini for launch later this year.
Barclays analyst Ben Reitzes has forecast that we will see an iPhone/iPad event in September, which could, in addition to the second iPad mini, and the new iPhone Katy Huberty expects we'll see in September, could also see the launch of a thinner, lighter iPad 5.
According to NPD DisplaySearch analyst Richard Shim, a third-generation iPad mini with an improved processor may come in 2014.
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