Production difficulties may bump back release of iPhones/iPad mini
According to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI securities, Apple is having some production challenges which will slow down device shipments in the third quarter, as relevant to previous market expectations. Rather than an iPhone release in June or July, Kuo now believes that later time frames will influence the release of iDevices this year, ranging from August to November.
In January, KUO predicted that Apple would have a rather busy third quarter, releasing its iPhone devices as early as June/July.
In a recent report, however, Kuo indicates production difficulties with the next batch of Apple products, making device shipments in the third quarter slower than previously expected by Kuo and other analysts.
Rather than an iPhone release in June or July, Kuo now believes that later time frames will influence the release of iDevices this year, ranging from August to November. This is much less specific than Kuo’s previous projections, but it is clear in any case that the release will probably come later than originally anticipated.
According to the report,
Earlier we estimated that shipments of the new iPhone would begin in July (FDD version) and September (TDD version), while iPad mini 2 would hit the market in August. Currently, market consensus for shipments of iPhone 5S, low-cost iPhone and iPad mini 2 is July, July, and August, respectively. But in light of publicly available information and our knowledge of technological trends, we now think all three products will begin shipments later than our previous expectation and market consensus.
Kuo specifically mentioned the following issues being faced in production:
- The new fingerprint sensor in the iPhone 5S will require color coating to prevent interference with the sensor.
- The newer low cost iPhone is rumored to be produced with a plastic shell, rather than a metal case. In addition, to keep costs lower, Apple will want to make the shell as thin as possible. This will necessitate prolonged production, for coatings and surface treatments.
- The iPad mini is going to be shipped with a retina display. Since the previous iPad mini did include a Retina display, adding one will pose some challenges of integration.
Kuo has proven to be a fairly reliable source of tech projections, so his ideas should not be treated like a report from DigiTimes. The predictions should prove interesting to investors, since the growth of iPhone shipments in the third quarter is predicted by Kuo to be only 1% year over year, rather than the previously anticipated 30-40% growth.
The predictions should also prove interesting to fans of the devices, since it seems further evidence of anticipated features in upcoming iDevices, such as biometrics in the 5S, a translucent shell in the budget iPhone, and a retina display in the iPad mini.