Apple has certainly made strides in keeping its iPhone strategy under wraps. Despite mounds of speculation regarding an iPhone 4S and a larger screen iPhone 5, the number of conflicting rumors as to Apple’s plans is simply dizzying.
All we know for sure is that an iPhone 4S type device is on the horizon, and according to Wedge Partners analyst Brian Blair, an iPhone 5 won’t be on the docket.
In a note to investors, Wedge writes that the focus of Apple’s upcoming media event will be iOS 5, along with the iPhone 4S’s speedier A5 processor and 8-megapixel camera.
“We believe the casing will be largely similar to the iPhone with some particular modifications to the antennae”, Wedge writes. “We don’t expect a second, dramatically different iPhone to accompany this as we don’t think Apple needs to have 3 models in the market to address the high end, mid-tier and low end since the iPhone 4 (with memory lowered to 8 GB) will drop to $99 and effectively attack those markets.”
Now Apple certainly doesn’t need three models to effectively attack all of the aforementioned markets as an iPhone 4/4S combo would certainly be adequate.
But Apple isn’t looking for adequacy.
Android is making huge strides in its fight against the iPhone, both in terms of marketshare and with respect to feature sets. Apple has to be aggressive and begin diversifying its product line to appeal to as broad a consumer base as it can, much like it did with the iPod a few years ago.
Is it imperative that Apple do this?
Not necessarily, and indeed, iPhone 4 sales remain robust even after nearly 18 months on the market. But Apple arguably needs a high-end phone that’s head and shoulders above the competition to cement its position as the yardstick by which other smartphones are measured. To that end, a sleek new form factor coupled with a larger screen fits the bill.
Now Apple may very well have wanted to release a redesigned iPhone 5 this Fall, but as we’ve covered earlier, design and production problems reportedly crept up. Consequently, if Apple only releases one iPhone model this Fall, it may not necessarily be by choice.