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Network World - The iOSphere was feasting this week on Notes to Investors, those alchemical documents that transmute the lead of iPhone 6 rumors into the gold of authoritative fact.
How else could we know the many details of iPhone cheapo that emerged in such plenitude, including multiple release dates, and sizes, not to mention the suffering of "billions" who yearn for it and yet must wait.
Also this week, fingering the home button, how iPhone 6 stacks up against another nonexistent smartphone, the specter of 2014, consumer longings, and whoa of un-wow.
You read it here second.
"I have a hunch there will never be an iPhone 6, because Apple will be forced to move into a significantly different form factor to keep people interested and compete with the movement toward bigger phablet-like thingies and emerging wearable electronics."
Not one but two Next iPhones will be announced around June or July 2013, according to an ever-more-widely cited "note to investors" from KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.
CATCH UP: Week of Jan.11 iPhone 6 rumor roundup
Among Kuo's "expectations" is that one of the iPhones, dubbed iPhone 5S, will "very similar to the current iPhone 5" but it will have a new processor (the A7), a fingerprint sensor, and an improved camera with a f2.0 aperture and smart LED flash.
Somewhat disappointingly, Kuo "believes that the lower-cost iPhone will in many ways simply be an iPhone 5 repackaged into a slightly thicker (8.2 mm vs. the current 7.6 mm) plastic enclosure available in six colors," according to MacRumors' Eric Slivka, one of many who repeated the Kuo expectations.
According to a handy "breakdown of specs" chart helpfully included by Slivka, Kuo's "iPhone 5S" will have a bill of materials estimate of $230-$250 (making it more expensive to build than the estimated $210-$230 for iPhone 5); but the retail price for an unlocked model would be in the same range as iPhone 5: $600-$700.
Kuo "expects" the unlocked iPhone cheapo to retail for $350-$450, and to be free -- as in "FREE!" -- with a two-year contract. That Apple would offer a brand new product for a price of $0 seems a stretch; it currently offers an 8GB iPhone 4 for $0 and two-year contract with AT&T, Sprint or Verizon, or $450 if unlocked.
Slivka assures readers (who otherwise might be inclined, cynically, to consider notes to investors, or NTIs for short, as the copy/paste results of analysts reading Apple rumor sites), that Kuo "has a very good track record in predicting Apple's product plans."
This would be the same Ming-Chi Kuo who last August released an NTI that predicted the soon-to-be-announced iPad mini had suffered delays because it would use a "thinner and lighter 'GF Ditto' touch structure," according to the same Eric Slivka who faithfully summarized Kuo's expectations. Instantly known as "GFD," this new "touch structure" was (and as far as The Rollup can tell remains) a completely unexplained and possibly nonexistent innovation. But that didn't inhibit Slivka from claiming that "Apple is said to be the first company in the world to commercialize and mass produce the technology."