KGI’s often reliable Mingchi Kuo is out with his latest Apple Watch forecast with some interesting new info. His latest findings:

  1. Components and EMS of the new iPhones will be ready for ramp-up in August and September, respectively
  2. Hon Hai begins manufacturing the TDD-LTE-supported iPhone 5C earlier than expected in August
  3. TDD-LTE supporting models may see respective penetration of 25% and 35% in iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C shipments
  4. iPhone 5 will reach end-of-life at the end of 3Q13, while shipments of iPhone 4S will continue until the end of 2013. From this situation we can infer that iPhone 5C is actually intended to replace iPhone 5, rather than iPhone 4S
  5. iPhone 5S will exceed iPhone 5C in shipments.

Tim Cook’s talks with China Mobile’s CEO must have gone well because …

Kuo thinks Apple is ramping up TDD-LTE compatible versions of the iPhone 5C earlier than expected, with Foxconn starting production in August.  The expectation is that Apple will move 1.5-2.5M units in Q3 alone, with sales commencing around China’s October Golden Holiday and Q4 expected to be a blockbuster.

We believe the joint effort by Apple and China Mobile this year will boost penetration of TDD-LTE to 25% in iPhone 5S and 35% in iPhone 5C shipments, which will generate new shipments momentum for the supply chain.

Kuo also believes the iPhone 5C will completely replace the iPhone 5, because of the feature set overlap, and be priced in the $399-$499 range. That’s something we discussed in our rountable conversation last week. Strangely, Kuo believes the iPhone 4S will soldier on, perhaps as something for emerging markets at low price-points

iPhone 5C to replace iPhone 5, while iPhone 4S goes on. We’ve learned that the iPhone 5 line will be terminated from 4Q13, while the iPhone 4S line will carry on. From this, we infer that iPhone 5C is launched to replace iPhone 5. In other words, the 5C model will be positioned as midrange. We forecast its retail price to be US$400-500.  We expect iPhone 5S, iPhone 5C, iPhone 4S and iPhone 4 will fall into the price ranges of  US$600-700, US$400-500, US$300-400 and US$200-300, respectively, in the new product  cycle. Since iPhone 4’s specs may not be adequate to run on iOS7, we think this line may be terminated.

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Apple’s upcoming high-end device, the iPhone 5S, is expected to outsell the iPhone 5C, with key features being a fingerprint reader, a larger 128GB storage option and a Gold/Champagne color thought to be aimed primarily at the high-end market in India and China, where the color is popular. The iPhone 5C is expected in 16GB and 32GB varieties, with an expected price-tag around $200 below the 5S.

Overall, Kuo expects 3Q13 iPhone 5S & 5C shipments of respectively 5.2M & 8.4M units, with Q4 shipments to surge respectively by 438% and 122% QoQ to 28M units and 18.7M units. If he’s right, the new models will push Apple’s overall iPhone shares for the year close to a staggering 160M units.

Apple is expected to launch both devices at an event on September 10th in San Francisco.