Checks with Apple's overseas supply chain have indicated that Apple will only introduce one new iPhone model next week, analyst Shaw Wu with Sterne Agee said in a note to investors on Wednesday.
In addition to those rumors, Wu said he found it "intriguing" that Apple's invitation to next week's iPhone event features the recognizable green iOS phone icon with a number 1 displayed on it. He sees that as a potential signal that Apple intends to introduce only one true fifth-generation iPhone next Tuesday.
Similarly, John Gruber of Daring Fireball offered his own commentary on Tuesday after the invitations went out: "Something tells me there's only one new iPhone," the well-sourced author wrote.
Also joining Wu is analyst Gene Munster with Piper Jaffray, who said on Tuesday that he does not expect Apple to introduce a low-end iPhone this year. He sees one proper "iPhone 5" model, being sold at the traditional $199 and $299 price points seen by previous Apple handsets.
For weeks prior to the invitations being issued, there was rampant speculation that Apple will introduce two iPhone models this year: a low-end, contract-free handset dubbed the "iPhone 4S," and a full-fledged, redesigned "iPhone 5." Various reports claimed that the iPhone 4S would look nearly the same as the current iPhone 4, and would be geared toward midrange smartphone buyers in predominantly prepaid markets like China.
Like Munster, Wu sees Apple announcing a single new flagship iPhone model at next week's event. He believes the current iPhone 4 could see "minor changes," along with a likely price cut to $99 with a new service contract.
Instead of introducing a new handset to address the entry-level market, Wu said he believes it is more likely that Apple could offer the iPhone 3GS, first released in 2009, for as little as free to customers on contract.