Two new iPhone models are set to be launched in the middle of this year, with Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) starting the process of the devices’ preliminary builds in March, according to Jefferies analyst Peter Misek.
The analyst wrote in a note to investors on Tuesday that two prototypes already being tested by Apple were an iPhone 5S and a low-cost version of the iPhone. While the 5S would be just an incremental upgrade to last October’s iPhone 5, a low-cost phone targeted toward emerging markets had also received the green light.
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“Similar to the iPad mini, we expect a concentrated low-cost iPhone rather than a ‘cheap’ one,” he said, according to Apple Insider. “Likely specs: polycarbonate case with 4” non-Retina display and no LTE.”
The low-cost device would possibly decrease the company’s gross margins, but Misek does not expect it to hurt Apple’s earnings per share because of the increased sales.
In the current quarter, he expected Apple to sell 44 million iPhones — a number that was “still well above” Monday’s news of reduced predictions of just above 30 million. The reports of lower-than-expected iPhone sales were inspired by apparent component cuts from Apple, but the latter were actually related to an assembly bottleneck that caused parts inventories to rise in the holiday quarter, Misek said.
Demand for the quarter may either be in line or “slightly below optimistic expectations,” the analyst added.
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