Maybe it’s iPhone karma at work. Last year, the public knew about the new iPhone 4 design months before it was officially introduced. This year, in contrast, we can’t even get a grasp on how many iPhone models Apple is planning to release.
That’s not to say, however, that we don’t have an idea. It’s widely believed that Apple has two iPhone models in the pipeline. One is considered to be a sure thing – a low cost iPhone 4S with upgraded hardware like an A5 processor and an 8 megapixel camera sporting the same form factor as the iPhone 4. The other rumored device, known as the iPhone 5, is believed to feature a larger screen and, as leaked case moldings indicate, a new teardrop design that gets thinner from top to bottom.
Adding his two cents into the fray, Deutsche Bank analyst Chris Whitmore writes in a note to investors that Apple will release both models this year, with the iPhone 4S positioned at a more affordable pricepoint due to a bill of materials cost of only $150.
Whitmore sees a low-cost iPhone giving Apple even greater market penetration into the midrange smartphone market, where he estimates there are about 1 billion prepaid customers. Such a move would “drastically expand” the addressable smartphone market for Apple, he believes.
Regarding the mythical iPhone 5, Whitmore anticipates that the device will sport an aluminum unibody build that will replace the glass back Apple uses on the iPhone 4. Not only would this result in a lighter device, it would also help alleviate some of the concerns iPhone 4 customers experienced with their devices scratching up, and in some instances, shattering.
To help illustrate the rumored form factor of the larger iPhone 5, below are photos of the iPhone 4 nestled inside an alleged iPhone 5 case.
The case molding, if accurate, speaks to a thinner, longer, and wider form factor. The second photo also illustrates the teardrop design that’s said to be incredibly light yet significantly firmer than similar Samsung smartphones that are draped in plastic.