iPhone 6 rumor rollup for the week ending Nov. 22

One size fits all, insiders, the more expensive iPhone

The iOSphere has gone gaga over what everyone says is a "report" that iPhone 6 will have a big screen and we now know how big. Thank heavens for "insiders."

Also in this abbreviated Rollup: brace yourselves for the More Expensive iPhone.

You read it here second.

But from the perspective of avoiding fragmentation, iPhone 5C is an upgraded version of 4.9 inches screen size should also, of course, how the truth, you also need to wait for further news, we will continue to pay close attention.

— Google Translate version of anonymous Chinese language post at CTech

“According to Ctech, both iPhone 5S and 5C will get a display size bump next year, though they are not sure how big the screen of C line will be.”

~ Stasys Bielinis, UnwiredViews, who translates the Google translation

__________

iPhone 6 will have 4.9-inch display according to a “report” that’s “pretty good”

By now, everyone knows that iPhone 6 will have a bigger-than-4-inch display. Because ... well, because it’s obvious.

The latest “confirmation” of big-screen iPhones sweeping the iOSphere, as in this post at UnwiredView, is based on a short post at a Chinese language tech site called CTech.

Here’s how UnwiredViews Stasys Bielinis puts it: “Now Chinese site C Technology [i.e. CTech], which has been pretty good at this, claims to have received an insider tip that Apple is testing iPhone prototype with 4.9” display.”

According to Google Translate here is CTech’s claim in its entirety: “We have just received a message from insiders is that Apple has begun testing a prototype iPhone 6 for some time, and its size is 4.9 inches.”

That’s it. Based on that one sentence, it’s impossible to know whether there actually are multiple insiders who are messaging CTech, or whether CTech simply made it all up. [FYI, here’s the original Chinese post at CTech.] 

The use of the word “prototype” always creates a frisson of excitement in the iOSphere. But prototypes are widely used in product development. What’s missing here, and in nearly all iOSphere revelations about Apple prototypes, is any understanding of how Apple actually does its prototyping: at what stage of the development process; whether it does different prototypes at different stages; at which stage is this alleged prototype; how do the “insiders” know it’s an iPhone 6 prototype; and so on.

Finally, UnwiredView adds that “According to Ctech, both iPhone 5S and 5C will get a display size bump next year, though they are not sure how big the screen of C line will be.”

That’s what might be called a very loose paraphrase, according to Google Translate which renders the Chinese almost into gibberish: “In addition to the screen size, no more news iPhone 6, but the news source also revealed that next year Apple will release two may be at the press conference announcing the big screen iPhone, ie iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C is an upgraded version of the big screen But iPhone 5C upgraded version of the screen size is uncertain whether the 4.9 inches. But from the perspective of avoiding fragmentation, iPhone 5C is an upgraded version of 4.9 inches screen size should also, of course, how the truth, you also need to wait for further news, we will continue to pay close attention.”

The phrase “you also need to wait for further news” could be the Great Litany of the iOSphere.

But in the skilled hands of seasoned interpreters, you don’t need to wait for further news: you can make it up yourself, because the very absence of information reveals information. “The screen number jump, however, for the 5C was not provided though the report has attested that a 4.9-inch handset is currently being tested, softly implying that the tech giant has finally found the sweet spot for the screen of its first phablet offering,” helpfully explains International Business Times’ Erik Pineda. 

iPhone 6 will have a bigger pricetag to match the bigger screen

Not many people who argued, or ranted, that Apple “had” to have a cheap iPhone to survive saw this one coming: a more expensive iPhone.

“Given the high cost of components in Apple’s new iPhone 5s and the company’s appetite for high profit margins, some observers theorize that it may opt to ship its next flagship iPhone with a higher price,” writes John Paczkowski, at the AllThingsD blog. 

“Some observers” apparently means “one guy,” specifically Chris Caso, a stock analyst with Susquehanna, who “figures the so-called iPhone 6’s bill of materials — which is expected to include a faster chip and a new, larger display that may or may not be made from sapphire — will drive up the device’s retail price.”

Of course the Big Question is: how much?

“We think Apple could get away with a $50 to $100 premium for a larger screen size iPhone 6,” Caso wrote. “We think such a move could avoid the margin erosion that occurred when the iPhone 5 was launched.”

Paczkowski does the math: “That means instead of $199 (with two-year contract), the iPhone 6 — or whatever the successor to the 5s is called — could price out at somewhere between $249 and $299.”

But it would be worth it to get that Bigger-Than-4-Inches display, eh?

He points out that Apple boosted the price of the new iPad mini with Retina display by $70 to $399. “It would likely have no trouble doing the same for the iPhone, particularly if the device’s new bill of materials required a higher price to maintain the fat margins of which Apple is so fond,” he concludes.

The iPad price hike is 21 percent, essentially to $400. That’s a hefty premium when there are so many lower-priced tablets on the market, though obviously none of them are the iPad and none of them participate in the “iOS ecosystem.” For the third-generation iPad, the first to introduce the Retina display on the tablet, Apple had a bigger battery, much improved CPU and graphics processor, and clearly a more expensive screen. Yet its starting price was unchanged at $499.  

But the tablet and smartphone are clearly two different markets. So far, tablet sales for Apple or anyone else are a fraction of smartphone sales.

There are a lot of unknowns here. How price sensitive are potential buyers of a Big Screen iPhone (BSi)? Would a BSi become the flagship phone, with the “iPhone 6C” keeping the current 4-inch display? Does Apple want to increase the price difference between the two phones? Or does Apple plan a trinity of iPhone models: the less expensive “C” line with year-old technology; a higher-end model continuing with the 4-inch display; and a new larger-screen model that will have a higher price?

John Cox covers wireless networking and mobile computing for Network World.http://twitter.com/johnwcoxnwwjohn_cox@nww.com

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