Analyst: iPhone 5C Coming Soon to Replace iPhone 5

iPhone 5 2012

It looks like Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) low-cost iPhone 5C really is low maintenance compared to its 5S offering expected to be unveiled September 10.

According to a report by Apple Insider that highlights KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo’s predictions, Apple is expected to ship close to 8.4 million of its low-end iPhone units this quarter, while shipments of the iPhone 5S are only expected to reach 5.2 million units due to production setbacks. That puts units of the 5C ahead of the 5S. However, because Apple expects the 5S to be its big-ticket holiday item, Kuo believes the company will combat these current supplier delays by increasing shipments of the iPhone 5S by 438 percent in the holiday quarter, allowing it to eventually meet demand of about 28 million units.

While it is still unclear what the production difficulties entail, Kuo maintains, “A timetable ensuring improvement has been established, which eases our concern over 5S production” and thus remains optimistic about the future of the 5S and previous predictions. Last week, we learned via Apple Insider that Kuo forecast the iPhone 5S to deviate from the norm and come out in a new gold color. He also believes a fingerprint sensor under the home button is a probability. That fingerprint sensor could be the item underlying the 5S yield rate issues, but it is reportedly a setback that can be overcome.

Though there has been significant speculation over the iPhone 5C and the doors it can open for budget-conscious consumers, shipments of the 5S are still expected to exceed those of the 5C due to increased shipments of the 5S over the holiday quarter. Still, the 5C makes it easy on Apple in that many of its main components are the same as those of the iPhone 5, except with a new plastic frame. Apple Insider reports that Foxconn even began production of a new TDD-LTE for the iPhone 5C  in August, reflecting a date that was earlier than expected but also understandable as the company prepares for increased production during China’s October Golden Holiday.

And in a surprising move, Kuo even expects the iPhone 5C to fully replace the 5, keeping the iPhone 4S in existence but not the device that just came out last fall. That would mean the 2013 iPhone fall lineup would include the iPhone 5S, expected to be Apple’s new premium smartphone; the iPhone 5C as the mid-range device; and the 4S as the low-end option. Kuo believes the iPhone 5C will cost between $400 and $500, and the iPhone 4S, released in 2011, between $300 and $400.

That prediction marks a departure from other analysts, who believe Apple wants its new iPhone lineup to only include larger 4-inch displays and the new Lightning connector. However, the 4S might be just what the Cupertino, California-based company needs to sell at the bottom end of the market if it wants to appeal to new customers in emerging markets — especially because the iPhone 5C isn’t exactly low-end. It has most of the same components as the premium iPhone 5, but is expected to have a plastic back and come in a range of colors. Keeping the 4S could keep prices especially low would not isolate new, cost-conscious buyers, if Kuo’s predictions ring true.

Don’t Miss: This Is Why Apple Created the iPhone 5C.