The holiday shopping season hasn't even started and we're already seeing reports about the iPad 5 and iPhone 5S (assuming Apple sticks with convention and doesn't name the next model the iPhone 6). Such is life in the Apple rumor mill.
Digitimes reported yesterday that Apple's component suppliers will particularly enjoy Apple's first fiscal quarter of 2013 as the company is planning to introduce new iPad and iPhone models in mid-2013.
Apple is expected to introduce its next-generation iPad and iPhone series around the middle of 2013, which will boost demand for ICs in particular communications related chips during the latter half of the first quarter, according to the observers. Component orders placed by Apple, which climbed to high levels prior to the iPhone 5 rollout, will rise again between March and April, the observers indicated.
Now Digitimes has a somewhat spotty track record with respect to Apple rumors, so certainly take this with a grain of salt - especially because we all know that Apple tries as mightily as it can to adhere to a consistent release schedule for its products.
But that said, Apple has shown a willingness to change things up as of late. First and foremost, note that 4th generation iPad was released just 7 months after the 3rd generation iPad hit store shelves. While only Apple executives can entirely explain why they chose to accelerate their release schedule, some speculate that Apple is responding to the ever increasing influx of Android tablets on the market and that Apple wants to prevent competing tablets from getting too close, or perhaps even surpassing, the performance and features of the iPad.
As for the iPhone, you might remember that initial supply of the iPhone 5 was low due to lower than expected yields on the device. Indeed, the engineering demands involved in manufacturing Apple's most recent smartphone were so great that a Foxconn official said rather bluntly that the super svelte iPhone 5 is the hardest device they've ever had to assemble.
The iPhone 5 is the most difficult device that Foxconn has ever assembled. To make it light and thin, the design is very complicated,… It takes time to learn how to make this new device. Practice makes perfect. Our productivity has been improving day by day.
Consequently, a report in the Commercial Times last week claimed that Apple, in an effort to prevent supply shortages of the iPhone 5s, decided to ramp up its trial production and certification process for the device to as early as December. If this is in fact the case, it stands to reason that Apple's next-gen iPhone would be released earlier than most were initially anticipating.
The Commercial Times, like Digitimes, is often hit or miss when it comes to Apple-based rumors, so again, take this all with a wink and a nod. But if one truly wanted to believe that a new iPad/iPhone release cycle was only a few months away, the recent release of the iPad 4 and production troubles with the iPhone 5 may be sufficiently convincing.
Rumors aside, rest assured that Apple will soon be selling iPods, iPads, and iPhones as fast it can make them. The busiest shopping period of the year begins this week and there will be deals to be had at most if not all major retailers. What's more, this is arguably the most impressive and intriguing holiday lineup Apple has put forth in years - brand new and compelling iPods (when's the last time that happened), two brand new iPad models, and of course, the still uber-popular iPhone 5 which continues to sell extremely well.