Accurate Apple Predictor Offers New Product Roadmap

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Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) will be unveiling a slew of new products this year according to a recent research note from well-connected KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, reports 9to5Mac. The analyst’s report included a launch timeline for various Apple products, as well as previously unrevealed details about the design of some of the products.

According to Kuo’s “new product roadmap” obtained by 9to5Mac, Apple will be releasing the majority of its new products in the third quarter, including the long-rumored iWatch. Kuo also affirmed rumors that Apple will unveil two iPhone models with larger screen sizes this year. An iPhone with a 4.7-inch screen size will be released in the third quarter, while an iPhone with a 5.5-inch screen size will be released late in the fourth quarter. Other product releases expected in the third quarter include an upgraded iPad Air and iPad mini.

Kuo’s report also predicted that the so-called “iPhone 6” would include a minor hardware alteration. “Our understanding is that iPhone 6’s power button might be moved from the top to the side,” wrote Kuo according to 9to5Mac. “We think this change is meant to facilitate one-hand operation and might indicate new application that require more frequent use of the power button.”

Apple’s iPhone is not the only product that will be released in two different iterations, according to the KGI Securities analyst. Kuo predicted that the iWatch will also be available in two different sizes and price ranges. “Fashion is the name of the game; most expensive model likely priced at several thousand US dollars,” wrote Kuo in a research note seen by 9to5Mac. “Referring to the rules of the fashion market, we predict the iWatch casing and band will come in various materials. … Assuming the iWatch proves to be a success, we expect Apple’s key competitors in 5-10 years will be the current fashion brands, not the existing tech companies.”

Kuo’s prediction of a high-priced luxury iWatch aligns with a recent report from the Financial Times that said Apple has been attempting to poach Swiss watchmakers from various watch brands owned by multinational luxury goods conglomerate LVMH. “We believe the rumored iWatch will be Apple’s most important product this year, carrying much more weight than iPhone 6,” wrote Kuo, according to Apple Insider.

Besides predicting the approximate launch times for the next-generation iPhone models and the new iWatch product, Kuo also noted that Apple customers can expect a low-cost iMac upgrade in the second quarter and an Apple TV upgrade in the fourth quarter. Finally, the analyst also forecasted that Apple will release a new “ultra slim” 12-inch MacBook Air and an upgraded MacBook Pro in the fourth quarter.

Noticeably missing from Kuo’s 2014 Apple product timeline was a large-screen iPad, or “iPad Pro.” Although the analyst doesn’t believe that Apple will release a large-format tablet this year, he believes that the Cupertino-based company is developing the product. “We believe Apple is working on a 12.9” iPad to generate new growth momentum,” wrote Kuo, according to 9to5Mac. “But we think this product is unlikely to come out this year.”

Although Kuo doesn’t have a perfect record of Apple product predictions, he correctly predicted several major details about Apple’s last iPhone launch, including the debut of a gold casing color and the use of sapphire for the fingerprint scanner’s cover.

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