Apple is expected to unveil two major devices in the first half of the year, reports Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI. Kuo believes the company will introduce the long-rumored 4-inch iPhone and a refreshed 9.7-inch iPad Air 3.
iPhone 5se demand
Apple, which has shifted its R&D efforts to larger-screened iPhone 6 and 6s models, is said to be revisiting the smaller handset size. On Sunday, in a note to investors, Kuo said Apple’s upcoming 4-inch iPhone will not have strong demand due to its form factor and hardware.
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The form factor of the rumored iPhone 5se will be similar to that of the outgoing iPhone 5s, but it will come with higher-spec hardware. For example, it it is expected to sport a 12-megapixel camera and will adopt a slightly curved iPhone 6s style “2.5D” cover glass. However, Kuo does not expect the new 4-inch version to come with extraordinary hardware innovations when compared with the current iPhone 6s and 6s Plus handsets.
Not much is known about the upcoming iPad Air 3 and iPhone 7. In October 2014, the company released the iPad Air 2 powered by an A8X chip and made minor hardware upgrades. Though the upgrades were solid, they were not enough to slow down the steep decline in iPad sales.
No surprise innovations from Apple
On the iPhone 7, Kuo stated that he has not been able to confirm any surprise innovations thus far. This could point towards Apple working on evolutionary upgrades in A-series SoC technology, camera resolution, battery life and more.
This year’s iPhone should come with a revamped design, provided that Apple continues to follow its usual upgrade cycle. There are several rumors suggesting Apple’s plan to replace iPhone’s 3.5 mm headphone jack with a Bluetooth or Lightning solution. The handset could possibly be waterproof and feature wireless charging.
For the three months ending in December, Kuo expects the company to sell 77 million iPhones. The number sits at the midline of Wall Street expectations but just below Apple’s high-side guidance of 77.5 million units. For the current quarter, the analyst expects 43 million iPhone shipments, down 44.2% quarter over quarter and down 29.7% from the same time last yea, owing to slow iPhone 6s demand.