Piper Jaffray: 'iPhone 5C' may not include Siri, could replace iPhone 4S at bottom of lineup

in iPhone edited January 2014
In a research note issued to investors on Monday, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster predicts Apple may scale back iOS 7 on a rumored low-cost iPhone, possibly hobbling the handset by deactivating features like Siri.

Rendering of "iPhone 5C" based on reportedly leaked schematics.

Recognizing recent rumors of a Sept. 10 iPhone announcement, Munster took the chance to update investors on his Apple product pipeline predictions for the rest of the year and into 2014.

The analyst's expectations for the next-generation iPhone, dubbed by many as the "iPhone 5S," are very much in line with rumors and reports coming from a multitude of sources. Aside from incorporating a fingerprint sensor into the home button, which Munster believes will be limited to user authentication, the 5S will feature the usual "S-series" component upgrades. These include increased processor performance, extended battery life, more memory, and other spec bumps.

While his iPhone 5S outlook is in line with mainstream rumblings, Munster's thoughts on the rumored less-expensive "iPhone 5C" are a bit unconventional. Like others, he predicts the 5C will have a plastic casing, 4-inch display and slightly lower end internal components than the iPhone 5S. However, the analyst believes Apple will exclude software features when the handset launches, specifically the Siri voice recognizing virtual assistant.

Curiously, Munster cites the lack of Siri on the iPhone 3GS or iPhone 4 in his iPhone 5C prediction, but fails to mention the service was never part of iOS until Apple incorporated the feature in the iPhone 4S. Apple purchased Siri, which was formerly an iOS app, in April 2010, ultimately baking the technology into iOS 5 over a year later.

Siri was never officially activated on the iPhone 4 or earlier models, though a jailbreak proved the service could run on older hardware. It is thought that special noise cancellation tech implemented in certain A5 processors, used in the iPhone 4S, iPad mini and fifth-generation iPod touch, is needed for Siri to work optimally. Even with the latest iOS 6, Siri is still absent in the iPhone 4 and below.

As for Apple's low-end handset offerings, Munster believes "it may make sense" for the company to discontinue the iPhone 4S product line instead of carrying the model over as a free-on-contract device. This would bring parity to the lineup, the analyst says, with the iPhone 5S, current iPhone 5 and iPhone 5C all sporting similar designs and screen sizes.

In this configuration, Munster sees the iPhone 5C as selling for an estimated $300. Despite its relatively low price and predicted positioning at the bottom of Apple's lineup, the analyst pegs cannibalization at only 25 percent, down from a previous estimate of 50 percent. He cites "leaked videos" showing the handset's plastic shell as a cause for the drop in cannibalization.

Finally, Munster agrees with the September iPhone event rumor, and sees October as a likely launch timeframe for both a new iPad and iPad mini. Further out, he predicts Apple to debut a new TV product before the end of 2013, while a larger-screened iPhone and so-called "iWatch" should hit store shelves by mid-2014.


  • Reply 1 of 104
    sennensennen Posts: 1,472member

    No Siri on the rumoured "5C"? Rubbish.

  • Reply 2 of 104
  • Reply 3 of 104
    Duh.... Apple has to differentiate it somehow.

    If the iPhone 5C has a 4" screen like the flagship iPhone... and a decent enough camera to use with Instagram... and a decent enough GPU and processor to play Candy Crush... why would anyone pay the big bucks for the flagship iPhone 5S ?
  • Reply 4 of 104
    512ke512ke Posts: 782member
    There is no way apple's big innovation is to sell a phone with old technology that does less than what the iPhone 4S does now.

    No way.

    Apple represents more. The 5c will let you do more things than the 4s, not fewer!

    Apple isn't some consumer company that makes cheapo stuff with 2012 abilities!
  • Reply 5 of 104
    Agreed. No way it doesn't have Siri.
  • Reply 6 of 104
    murmanmurman Posts: 159member

    Well, Android has their Siri like voice features, Samsung has their own as well, so Apple want people choose their competitors instead? Window Phone has voice features too, so wtf rumor mill?!

  • Reply 7 of 104
    quinneyquinney Posts: 2,528member
    Munster made some unambiguous predictions. That will make it easy to evaluate him pretty soon.
  • Reply 8 of 104
    gazoobeegazoobee Posts: 3,754member
    right on the price, wrong on Siri.
  • Reply 9 of 104
    The market for this phone is mainly over seas or the rest of the world where you don't have to get locked into contracts. A more affordable product with the iPhone reputation would kill most of the pay as you go crap.
    When I travel I see tons of basic cell phones people use for txt & phone, nothing fancy at all, no web browsing but cheap. If apple wants to reach that market it would dominate. A low-end or entry-level phone would be a good idea. Here at home everyone I see has a smart phone of some kind, but many parts of the world it's a luxury to have a smart phone. Having said that, Africa has more cell phones than North America, but only 13% are smart phones.
    Make an affordable entry-level iPhone & it will sell everywhere very quickly.
  • Reply 10 of 104
    gqbgqb Posts: 1,934member
    Siri is core technology now for Apple.
    Leaving it out is about as likely as leaving out the ability to play music.
  • Reply 11 of 104
    Nonsense!! The "5C" that they're referring to will do everything the current iPhone 5 can.

    By all reports the new 'low cost model' (replacing possibly both the 4 & 4S [I]and[/I] the current 5) will contain "previous generation hardware" (aka today's iPhone 5 internals), packaged in a lower cost 'plastic' enclosure. Nothing else appears to have changed.

    The 5S will advance the generation with a more powerful CPU/GPU, better camera & features (slow motion, et al), better flash, possible fingerprint sensor, maybe new materials on the enclosure (liquidmetal?), and of course iOS 7 with the "new SIRI".

    I can't imagine Apple "crippling" the iPhone 5C that much. It'll be enough that it's last year's technology and lower-cost materials. The people that want the cutting edge will still spring for the 5S.
  • Reply 12 of 104
    drblankdrblank Posts: 3,385member


    Originally Posted by Michael Scrip View Post

    Duh.... Apple has to differentiate it somehow.

    If the iPhone 5C has a 4" screen like the flagship iPhone... and a decent enough camera to use with Instagram... and a decent enough GPU and processor to play Candy Crush... why would anyone pay the big bucks for the flagship iPhone 5S ?

    Faster processor, more RAM, better screen, better camera, thinner, and fingerprint ID technology.  That's what I think the major differences will be.


    I really hope Apple releases a killer large screen.  I don't think they will, but I can always hope.  It doesn't cost anything to do that.

  • Reply 13 of 104

    It's an elaborate hoax.

  • Reply 14 of 104
    Also believe 5S will have FD LTE & TD LTE as dual band 4G whereas 5C will pretty much have the same internals as 5 with plastic casing and cheaper entry point into iOS ecosystem.
  • Reply 15 of 104
    poksipoksi Posts: 482member


  • Reply 16 of 104
    Most of the comments listed above are consistent with me. "That's bullshit."
  • Reply 17 of 104
    crowleycrowley Posts: 10,453member
    I don't believe the rumour, but if the past two weeks of service are any measure then it's no great loss; Siri hasn't been available the majority of the time I've tried. Apple could really do themselves a favour by bringing the basic voice commands on-device.
  • Reply 18 of 104
    crossladcrosslad Posts: 527member
    I could live without Siri if it has a decent camera and will run all of the iLife and iWork apps. Nothing on android comes close to these.
  • Reply 19 of 104
    I dunno. I can see where he is coming from. I imagine Siri isn't cheap to keep running smooth and the addition of a hundred million users in china and India on a handset that sells ( supposedly) for what the profit margin of the current iPhone is could be a stretch. I'm sure they'll sell tons in the u.s. too but more as an entry level phone for younger people/older people. Not that I'm convinced of this though. But I have wondered how they'd shave enough savings off to satisfy the prepay market. A plastic case and a few cheaper parts just doesn't seem like it would cut enough of the price. Actually the more I think about it the more it makes sense.
  • Reply 20 of 104

    Dumbest 5C prediction I've heard so far. The only thing the 5C won't have is the fingerprint scanner. Otherwise, it's an iPhone 5 in a plastic case.

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