Apple to launch 4" iPhone and iPad Air 3 in first half of 2016, analyst says

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2016
According to connected KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple is preparing two major iOS device introductions for the first half of 2016 in the much-rumored 4-inch iPhone and a refreshed 9.7-inch iPad Air 3.




In a Sunday note to investors, Kuo said he expects Apple's upcoming 4-inch iPhone to be met with tepid demand, as the device's form factor and hardware are mostly iterative. Apple is revisiting the smaller handset size after shifting R&D efforts to larger-screened iPhone 6 and 6s models.

The rumored "iPhone 5se" will sport a form factor similar to the outgoing iPhone 5s, but with higher-spec hardware like a 12-megapixel camera and adoption of slightly curved iPhone 6s-style "2.5D" cover glass. Compared to current iPhone 6s and 6s Plus handsets, the new 4-inch version is not expected to boast much in the way of hardware innovations, Kuo says.

Less is known about the upcoming iPad Air 3 and "iPhone 7." Today's note is one of the first to predict a first half 2016 launch window for Apple's refreshed 9.7-inch tablet. In 2014, Apple released the A8X-powered iPad Air 2 in October, though minor hardware upgrades, while solid additions, weren't enough to slow steeply declining in sales.

Kuo has little insight on this year's flagship iPhone, tentatively dubbed "iPhone 7," but notes no surprise innovations in the information he has been able to confirm thus far. This suggests Apple is currently working on evolutionary upgrades in A-series SoC technology, camera resolution, battery life and more.

If Apple follows its usual upgrade cycle, this year's iPhone should bring a revamped design. Multiple rumors suggest Apple is looking to ditch iPhone's 3.5mm headphone jack in favor of a Bluetooth or Lightning solution, while less reliable sources have claimed the handset will be waterproof and feature wireless charging.

As for quarterly shipments, Kuo models iPhone sales at 77 million for the three-month period ended in December. The number sits at the midline of Wall Street expectations.

Looking ahead, tame iPhone 6s demand will drive current quarter iPhone shipments of 43 million units, down 44.2 percent quarter over quarter and 29.7 percent from the same time last year. Apple traditionally sees seasonal headwinds coming off strong holiday sales. Kuo believes the dip in iPhone demand is set to correct to between 42 and 45 million units in quarter two when 4-inch iPhone model production ramps up.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 44
    19831983 Posts: 1,158member
    Well this is all very uninspiring...what a depressing article. Has Cook finally succeeded in turning Apple into boring old fart?
    Mr_Greystevie
  • Reply 2 of 44
    The only reason I bought the iPhone 6 Plus was for the optically stabilized camera. If I could get that in a 4" form factor, I'd be all over it, especially if they made sure to include the new antennas for improved LTE reception.
    pscooter63
  • Reply 3 of 44
    An iPad Air 3 with an A9X CPU will be a very compelling machine. 
  • Reply 4 of 44
    An iPad Air 3 with an A9X CPU will be a very compelling machine. 
    And Pencil support.
    Mr_Greycanukstormcornchip
  • Reply 5 of 44
    bobschlobbobschlob Posts: 1,074member
    If they come out with a dumbed-down version of a smaller form factor phone, they will have shot themselves in the foot.
    Full-on, full featured, full specced iPhone Mini.
    If not, we nuke the entire site from orbit. {it's the only way to be sure}
    [Deleted User]
  • Reply 6 of 44
    jason98jason98 Posts: 763member
    An iPad Air 3 with an A9X CPU will be a very compelling machine. 
    And Pencil support.
    Or 3d touch...
  • Reply 7 of 44
    1983 said:
    Well this is all very uninspiring...what a depressing article. Has Cook finally succeeded in turning Apple into boring old fart?
    Huh? All this rumor is about is Apple giving the cheapest iPhone a spec bump. What's depressing about that?
    anantksundarammwhitecali[Deleted User]pscooter63
  • Reply 8 of 44
    1983 said:
    Well this is all very uninspiring...what a depressing article. Has Cook finally succeeded in turning Apple into boring old fart?
    Give me a damn break. 

    Unless I missed an announcement about the iPhone 7 somehow....
  • Reply 9 of 44
    Mark Gurman says this new phone will support Live Photos but won't have 3D Touch. I think that's insane and I hope it's not true. All that does is give credence to those who claim 3D Touch is a gimmick and the things you use it for could be accomplished with long press.

    EDIT: I'm not arguing that 3D Touch and long press are the same thing (they're not) but plenty of idiots do.
    edited January 2016 Mr_Greycaliuraharacornchip
  • Reply 10 of 44
    mac_128mac_128 Posts: 3,400member
    The only reason I bought the iPhone 6 Plus was for the optically stabilized camera. If I could get that in a 4" form factor, I'd be all over it, especially if they made sure to include the new antennas for improved LTE reception.
    I'm pretty sure that won't happen, unless Apple decides to position the 4" iPhone specifically as a high end camera. 

    The phone will almost certainly be slimmer than the 5S, if using the 6S design. So not a lot of room in there to begin with, much less upgrading it to 6S specs which can't contain the the optically stabilized camera at even 4.7" inches. It will alsmot certainly have the latest antennas, NFC, & Touch ID.
    cornchip
  • Reply 11 of 44
    jason98 said:
    And Pencil support.
    Or 3d touch...
    Not going to happen. 3D Touch is too hard to scale to iPad size screens just yet.

    The Pencil support on the Air may actually be a little hard to fit cost-wise, the Pro's display has to be extremely expensive. And yes, it's IGZO.
  • Reply 12 of 44
    Mr_GreyMr_Grey Posts: 118member
    This sounds like the iPad mini is going to get the shaft again.  The most popular tablet they sell and yet they keep leaving it behind all the others in specs.  

    It makes you wonder who exactly is in charge at Apple and what they are doing.  They haven't managed to launch a full slate of products in a given year for many years now.  I wonder if it occurs to them to actually just hire more people or work a bit harder instead of just falling behind year after year after year. 
  • Reply 13 of 44
    Mr_GreyMr_Grey Posts: 118member

    An iPad Air 3 with an A9X CPU will be a very compelling machine. 
    No.  Any new iPads that don't have pencil support will be poor sellers at best.  

    The best outlook for iPad sales would be if they managed to get ForceTouch and pencil support not only in the iPad Air 3, but in the iPad mini 4.  It looks like they will be neglecting the iPad mini again by this report, but if the iPad Air 3 doesn't have it, all we will be hearing is reviews on why it didn't, or why anyone would buy the new iPad since it's only slightly different from the current one.  

    Apple really needs to move forward here and they will look stupid if they don't.  An iPad Air 3 that's microscopically smaller, thinner or with slightly better cameras or slightly better speed isn't going to cut it.  Remember that the iPad Air 2 is hardly any different from the iPad Air 1 already.  More of the same is not an option here.   
    canukstormzoetmb
  • Reply 14 of 44
    An iPad Air 3 with an A9X CPU will be a very compelling machine. 
    And Pencil support.
    My thoughts also - only problem I see in making the Air work with the Pencil is it's availability issue.  Still showing 2-3 weeks out (to be shipped).  Great design and worth the wait, but production would need to be higher if you add another product in the mix.
    Mr_Greycornchip
  • Reply 15 of 44
    Mr_Grey said:
    This sounds like the iPad mini is going to get the shaft again.  The most popular tablet they sell and yet they keep leaving it behind all the others in specs.  

    It makes you wonder who exactly is in charge at Apple and what they are doing.  They haven't managed to launch a full slate of products in a given year for many years now.  I wonder if it occurs to them to actually just hire more people or work a bit harder instead of just falling behind year after year after year. 
    What do you mean? The mini got a full update last year while the Air got nothing. And since Apple doesn't provide iPad sales by model how do you know the mini is the most popular? The mini will probably never have the same SOC as the Air but so what, there may be thermal/battery reasons plus there's no evidence the mini is a slouch at anything.
    williamlondon
  • Reply 16 of 44

    Mr_Grey said:

    An iPad Air 3 with an A9X CPU will be a very compelling machine. 
    No.  Any new iPads that don't have pencil support will be poor sellers at best.  

    The best outlook for iPad sales would be if they managed to get ForceTouch and pencil support not only in the iPad Air 3, but in the iPad mini 4.  It looks like they will be neglecting the iPad mini again by this report, but if the iPad Air 3 doesn't have it, all we will be hearing is reviews on why it didn't, or why anyone would buy the new iPad since it's only slightly different from the current one.  

    Apple really needs to move forward here and they will look stupid if they don't.  An iPad Air 3 that's microscopically smaller, thinner or with slightly better cameras or slightly better speed isn't going to cut it.  Remember that the iPad Air 2 is hardly any different from the iPad Air 1 already.  More of the same is not an option here.   
    The mini got updated last fall so it's not been neglected. They can't really make the Air much thinner (if at all) so I don't think we'll see a new Air until they bring the Pencil or 3D Touch to it. There were rumors out there that Apple was having trouble implanting 3D Touch on larger displays so that could be an engineering challenge. Plus getting 3D Touch and the Pencil to work together.
    williamlondon
  • Reply 17 of 44
    I want BLACK iOS devices. I don't like any of my Space Grey devices (which seem to get getting lighter in shade with every new release).
  • Reply 18 of 44
    KBuffett said:
    I want BLACK iOS devices. I don't like any of my Space Grey devices (which seem to get getting lighter in shade with every new release).
    I agree. It makes no sense for Apple to not offer the black, which, if I am not mistaken, has been a part of every iteration of the iPhone through the 5S. I feel that the 6's form factor would have been beautiful in shiny black.
    cornchip
  • Reply 19 of 44
    I stopped reading half way through the first sentence.  
  • Reply 20 of 44
    KBuffett said:
    I want BLACK iOS devices. I don't like any of my Space Grey devices (which seem to get getting lighter in shade with every new release).
    I agree. It makes no sense for Apple to not offer the black, which, if I am not mistaken, has been a part of every iteration of the iPhone through the 5S. I feel that the 6's form factor would have been beautiful in shiny black.
    The 5 was available in Slate (black), as was the 2012 iPad Mini but it chipped/scratched off, so they switched to Space Gray with the 5s and switch Slate for SG in the old Mini. The 5s is still the darkest, though IMO the 6s went darker than the 6 did.
    anantksundaram
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