Apple ups iPhone orders to 56M units for 2H11, iPhone 5 to be almost half

According to Digitimes, Apple has increased their second-half of 2011 iPhone orders to 56 million units from a previous goal of 50 million units. These 56 million iPhones cover current and next-generation models: iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 (GSM + CDMA), and the upcoming “iPhone 5.” As previously reported, the iPhone 5 will make up almost half of Apple’s 2H11 iPhones with 25.5-26 million total units.

In addition, Apple reportedly originally planned to build 7 million iPhone 5 units for the third quarter, but adjusted their production plans to 5.5-6 million units. On the other hand, Apple is expecting major iPhone 5 demand in the fourth quarter and has increased Q4 iPhone 5 orders to 20 million units from 14 million units.

The iPhone 5 will go on sale this fall and will almost certainly include the dual-core A5 processor found in the iPad 2 and an eight megapixel camera possibly made by Sony. There has been debate over the new iPhone’s design, with some reporting a design that is largely similar to the iPhone 4, and others calling for a major redesign. As the iPhone 5 moves into Apple’s product lineup (in addition to a possible cheaper iPhone), Apple will be eliminating the iPhone 3GS.

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At 3 in Sweden, the iPhone 3GS is on a fire sale

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Three in Sweden is having a “half price sale” on the iPhone 3GS “while supplies last”.  The free iPhone 3GS with the 99 Kroners a month ($15.42) plan works out to about US$370 for the entire contract and that is before minutes and the unlimited Internet (throttled after 1GB) are considered.  That is incredibly cheap.

In the US, the price of an iPhone 3GS off contract is still over $400 and we’re used to some of the lowest prices on Apple products globally.

The move would seem to indicate that the iPhone 3GS is nearing its end of life (EOL) and prices may begin to drop in other countries as well.

The Swedish carrier’s move is interesting because we heard a report last month that the iPhone 3GS would continue to be offered next year at a sub-$350 prepaid option alongside the ‘iPhone 4S’.

Updated: Denmark too!

Machine translated plan, below: Read more

iPhone 3GS supply tightens ahead of likely discontinuation this fall

Although it seems likely that Apple will soon discontinue its legacy iPhone 3GS, some reports have said that Apple will retain the device as its cost-effective pre-paid option. Others, including us, have reported that Apple is preparing two next-generation iPhones for this fall: one as the successor to the iPhone 4 and one as a cheaper, possibly pre-paid model.

According to several sources in different countries, stock of Apple’s iPhone 3GS is quickly tightening with hardly – or even any – shipments coming through to certain regions. In addition, according to a source at one popular international carrier, the iPhone 3GS has disappeared from the stock database.

We have heard from reliable sources at a major European iPhone carrier that stock of the iPhone 3GS is unusually low, with little stock coming through for the next few weeks. An accurate source at a major U.S. based iPhone reseller also reported to us that stock of the iPhone 3GS is significantly lower than usual. In addition, this source says, similarly to what our European carriers sources reported, that no iPhone 3GS shipments are coming through to several districts in the United States. On top of all of this, an accurate source with a hand in Apple’s global channel shipping operations reports that shipments of the 3GS are rapidly decreasing with a little amount of units remaining in the channel.

Apple gradually tightens its shipments and production of products ahead of its upgrade or discontinuation. This minimizes already-replaced product inventory from the company’s product lineup (which Apple often just moves to “refurbished”). This iPhone 3GS situation is a prime example of this process.

It is also possible that Apple is preparing an upgrade to the iPhone 3GS. Perhaps they will bump the screen or change something internally (A4?). It is also entirely possible that Apple is decreasing iPhone 3GS supplies in anticipation of more people buying the next-generation iPhone.

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Have we found the iPhone 5?


Click to enlarge

Last evening, a tipster sent us some pictures of what he now thinks is the iPhone 5.  He caught what he said was likely an Apple employee hunched over the device on the way home from work in San Francisco earlier this week.  He told us he was able to get a very good look at the device but the pictures he snapped “didn’t do it justice”.

We contacted the tipster by phone and checked his background.  We believe he saw a totally new Apple device, probably a prototype iPhone 5.  He contacted us because when he got home, he doubted what he saw was legitimate until he looked at the green cases we posted.  Then it all came together for him.  Our tipster has had an iPhone 3GS and currently has an iPhone 4.  He knows his iPhones and iPods and this was like nothing he’s ever seen.  He said it would fit perfectly into the case below.

“Almost EVO-like” in screen size, this iPhone also appears thinner than the current iPhone 4 but also wider.  The edges are rounded metal like the edges of a Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 but could still function as an antenna.  The back is a curved/tapered glass or plastic.  He couldn’t tell but if he had to guess he’d say glass.  He said it looked too amazing to be built by anyone besides Apple (fanboy!).

Our tipster wasn’t able to see the front/home button and the man holding the device was covering the Apple logo for all but a brief moment when the above picture was snapped.  It seemed apparent that he was trying to hide what he had more than the average smartphone user.

We aren’t certain if this is legitimate or not but it is too thin and flat to be an iPhone 3GS and too rounded to be an iPhone 4.  The black back with Apple logo would seem to rule out an iPod touch.  Our tipster is all but certain it was a new Apple product and the iPhone 5 would be the most likely scenario.

Would Apple let employees out into the world with these over a month before launch?  Apple has acknowledged that they real world test this way in the past (ahem, Gray Powell).  They’ve also indicated that the cases the iPhone 4s came in may have been a factor in not diagnosing the finger spot/antennagate fiasco ahead of time.  So perhaps this is legit?

Another picture below: Read more

There will be two different iPhones in September and the cheaper one is more important

This afternoon, we recieved some intel from an iPhone source that has been reliable in the past.  Most of the information is already known but it is important to weigh in on what’s going around.  The “big” news is that Apple will be selling two totally distinct iPhones in September.  One will be a low-end variety that will address the cheap Android market, according to the source.  The other will be a high-end device and will be an all new design.  There will be no mistaking these two devices, they will be immediately discernible.  The iPod touch, like it always has, will get updated in September as well.

So that’s where the info path trails off, and to be frank, it isn’t all that surprising.  There are currently two totally distinct iPhones on the market: the iPhone 3GS and the iPhone 4.  The 3GS is at a cheaper price point while the iPhone 4 is the high-end line.

So we’ll have the same thing in September?  iPhone 4 is the low end and iPhone 5 the high end?

I’m not so sure.  For one, the price of an iPhone 4 isn’t going to compete with cheap Android phones in any way.  Apple is currently selling them for over $600.  They aren’t going to cut the price in half overnight.  The 3GS doesn’t currently compete on price either.  I think that to compete on price with Android, Apple has to make a totally new low end phone as well.

What’s it going to be?  I think a good place to start looking is the curent iPod touch.  The iPod touch has the same resolution screen as the iPhone 4 but with poor(er) viewing angles because the screen doesn’t have In-Plane Switching.  (video below)

Also, the back camera is an order of magnitude worse than the iPhone 4′s, it doesn’t have GPS, has less RAM and the battery doesn’t last quite as long.

…and obviously the iPod lacks the “phone” bits.

But Apple somehow makes a lot of money selling this “almost iPhone” for just $229 retail (and under $200 at discounts) vs. the $650 that the iPhone 4 fetches without a plan.  It doesn’t seem infeasible to me that Apple could use the iPod touch platform that debuted a full year ago to build a cheap iPhone device.

Here’s how:

Start with the same hardware.  Add the GPS/3G baseband chips and some phone wiring and a solid 3 megapixel camera and you are 99% of the way to an iPhone lite.  iPhone Air?  Whatever.

Apple could make this device, one that is thinner than an iPhone 4, with most of the same specs, for $299.  But here’s the best part: Read more