Originally Posted by Michael Scrip
Another thing to consider... this might be the perfect time to release a bigger (again) iPhone:
4.8" iPhone whatever
4.0" iPhone 5
3.5" iPhone 4S
That's a nice lineup right there
I really doubt Apple is going to increase the size of the screen as the ONLY option when updateing the iPhone. They spend way too much time/money in R&D for this to happen. Give me an example if this happening...where they have completely changed the form factor and dropped another in the course of 2 years???
Now if the rumors (all of them combined) are true, We could see 3 new iPhones this year.
The first could come this spring with the 5S as some have rumored...with Apple going to a bi-annual 4" screen iPhone release. This is quite possible since the "S" versions are basically just speed boosts and other minor upgrades.
The second release could be this rumored "low cost iPhone" (with an all new form-factor) in July as some have predicted. IMO this "low cost" new form-factor, unsibsidized version is probably the most plausible rumor to come true. I think with the release of the Lightning jack, Apple will be turning the page on I/O and dropping the iPhone 4 & 4S (liquidating current stock in 2013) and replacing them with a lower-cost, dumbed-down iPhone. Makes the most sense to me, but i'm just a dumb user, so what do I know...other than with my iPad 2 as my primary computing device now, I rarely use my phone other when when out of the house or just quick glances on the go. Should they release a lower cost iPhone in a new form-factor...that would be the one I buy. If the "low cost" iPhone is simply the iPhone 5 on a cheaper subsidy, I'll wait.
Third, To me, it seems quite logical to introduce a 2nd form-factor as an alternative to the current standard 4" screen. Perhaps the 4" model will be the "low cost" option and the 4.8" will be the premium option. To me that's the most logical course of action. And, perhaps this 5" phone will have a 4:3 screen to keep the height of the phone down, just make it wider. This way we have a 4:3 form-factor across the product line again.
Also keep in mind that Apple has just released a lot of products with the strategy to eliminate the 30-pin dock cord, so that their entire iDevice lineup is on Lightning connectors. This could happen with the iPhone as well. They drop every device that has a 30-pin cord, and introduce a 2nd form factor for the iPhone.
Now, another though could be that this rumored 5" device could be a larger iPod Touch. I think before the iP5 was released, a lot of rumors were going down that Apple were going to release 2 iPhone models in 2012. Well, as it turned out, one was the iP5, and the other was a 4" iPod touch. So it's quite possible that this rumored near-5" device could be a larger iPod touch.
So I guess what I'm saying is I don't see 3 NEW devices, I see 2 new one's and possibly a "last year's" discount option.
1. iPhone 5 - Subsidized (with 2-year contract) starting at $99
2. iPhone X (low cost model) - Unsubsidized (contract free) starting at $249
3. iPhone Y (near-5" screen) - Subsidized (with 2-year contract) starting at $199
They could even throw in the iPhone 4S for a free subsidy (while supplies last).
Whether the larger screen (if rumors are true) iPhone is the new "Standard" model or just an alternative model to the 4" is yet to be seen. It's possible but I just don't see how they could change the standard screen size in the course of 1 year. No apple product has done this. Not even the iPod Nano (arguably the one device that has changed forms the most in it's product lifespan) has changed and major form in the course of 1 year.