Analyst predicts iPhone 5S with Gold option, larger F2.0 aperture camera and 128GB high-end

ifamily1

In a new report out today, KGI’s Mingchi Kuo updated his previous predictions for the iPhone 5S due for announcement on September 10th. Notably, he expects:

(1) the new A7, ARMv8 based AP (application processor), featuring a 1GB LPDDR3 RAM chip; (2) a sapphire home button with fingerprint  sensor; (3) main camera unchanged with 8MP, but featuring a larger F2.0 aperture with dual flash lights; (4) new option for golden casing; and (5) new option for 128GB storage.

We’ve heard the Sapphire fingerprint reading home button previously from Kuo and the A7 is the natural successor to the A6 and will likely be a 64-bit processor. The 1GB RAM seems in line with previous predictions but that 1GB of RAM will be faster according to Kuo:

We reckon A7 will upgrade memory bandwidth spec to LPDDR3 from LPDDR2 adapted by A6, in an effort to improve system performance. Since Apple is in charge of both hardware  and OS design, it is capable of minimalizing memory capacity at an optimized state. Therefore, A7’s RAM will likely be unchanged at 1GB.

However, the Gold option is something that has been only heard of in more sketchy rumors until now. Additionally, we discussed the 128GB option in our roundtable quite a bit yesterday. The iPad got a 128GB option this spring and the option on the iPhone would be a big differentiator for power users.

We’ve also heard the upgrade on the camera would include an F2.0 aperture with dual flashes but have heard a variety of megapixel options including 12 and 13. As with previous ‘S’ models, this one would be able to take dramatically better pictures, especially in low light situations.

Kuo doesn’t believe that there will be NFC capabilities in the iPhone 5S.

All told, Kuo expects Apple to sell 35M iPhone 5S units in 2013 (not including previous models and the lower cost iPhone 5C) as long as sapphire fingerprint reader manufacturers can keep up with demand.

Kuo’s record on parts predictions is good (timing notwithstanding) and these predictions should be taken seriously.

Mockups via MartinHajek.com, more here. Read more

iPhone 5S to have convex sapphire home button that doubles as a fingerprint reader?

Authentec-sapphire-iPhone-fingerprint

We’ve previously noted KGI Securities’ Ming-Chi Kuo for his often accurate reports on upcoming Apple products in the past. Usually those reports revolve around features that have been somewhat expected. We’ve expected a fingerprint scanner for quite some time and even found code that seems to point to a biometric input for the new iPhone. We’ve also profiled possible fingerprint readers in the iPhone 5S just last week.

Today’s report is something a bit out of left field however. Kuo expects the iPhone 5S to have a sapphire fingerprint reader home button that will no longer be plastic and concave but actually protrude slightly from the iPhone in a convex manner. This isn’t the first we’ve heard of Sapphire home buttons but the first reputable source on the matter. Kuo

Convex home button creates space for fingerprint sensor; yield to improve. We think that a fingerprint sensor will be placed under the home button of iPhone 5S. However, assembling it could be difficult as the space under home button is limited as it already has to accommodate the Lightning connector, speaker and microphone. Thus, we think the shape of the home button could be changed from concave to convex to create more space for a fingerprint sensor.

Sapphire prevents home button from being scratched. A convex home button could be more easily scratched, so a harder material is required. We believe Apple will switch from plastic to sapphire, whose hardness is second only to diamond. Sapphire would protect the home button from being scratched and the fingerprint sensor from being damaged.

Read more

Dual-color LED ‘SmartFlash’ on next iPhone could mean dramatically better low-light photos

iphone_5S_camera_flash-800x380

Image via MacRumors

In addition to a likely improved processor and camera sensor, it appears that Apple’s next-generation iPhone will include a dual-LED Flash. In light of reports and part leaks pointing to this new feature, it is worth taking a look at how dual-LED flash parts compare to single LED flashes (as found on the current iPhone 5) in real-world use.

Read more

More images of iPhone 5S prototype emerge, complete with probable A7 chip and dual-LED smart flash

iphone_5S_5_side_by_side-800x830

MacRumors has posted additional images of a prototype iPhone 5S this morning, adding to the increasing leaks of the upcoming device. Rather than using the A6X chip that is in the current-generation iPad, MacRumors speculates that the new processor’s model number means the next iPhone’s chip will be an A7.

In addition, the new iPhone will sport dual-LED flash. Of note, the two LEDs seem to be different colors: Read more

Apple patent application describes fingerprint sensor tech rumored for iPhone 5S

Apple-patent-fingerprint-sensor

There have been no shortage of fingerprint sensor rumors surfacing since Apple acquired Authentec last year. According to several reports from analysts, including the often reliable Ming-Chi Kuo and the not as reliable Topeka Capital analyst Brian White, Apple’s next-generation iPhone is likely to include a fingerprint sensor. We’ve discussed how it could certainly make a stand out hardware feature for Apple’s expected “S” upgrade, and today the US Patent and Trademark Office published patent applications that show Apple could be experimenting with exactly that (via PatentlyApple).

According to one aspect of the present disclosure, a biometric sensor assembly, such as a fingerprint sensor, comprises a substrate to which is mounted a die containing sensor circuitry and at least one conductive bezel. As used in the description and claims that follow, “bezel” means a unitary, substantially uniformly composed structure, most typically metal or conductive plastic. The die and the bezel are encased in a unitary encapsulation structure to protect those elements from mechanical, electrical, and environmental damage, yet with a portion of a surface of the die and the bezel exposed or at most thinly covered by the encapsulation or other coating material structure

Validity-Fingerprint-sensorThe patent describes a process of embedding a fingerprint sensor into the bezel of a device, which sounds a lot like the finger print sensors Validity was showing off embedded in Android devices at CES this year (pictured right). Apple notes in the patent application that the sensor would be “approximately the width of an average user’s fingertip, but only several pixels tall, typically between 1 and 8 pixels, and possibly as many as 16 pixels tall” when viewed from above.

Apple doesn’t get too into what functions for users the fingerprint sensor would provide, but does note that “the sensor captures a number of thin strips of the fingerprint as the finger is swiped, and the complete fingerprint is assembled in software for use in authentication.” Read more

WWDC 2013: Slimmer Retina MacBook Pro w/1080P camera and MacBook Air microphone improvements expected

specs_camera_2xIn a report this morning, one of the better Apple analysts, Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI securities listed his forecast for MacBook Pro and Air updates expected at WWDC. Apple’s annual developer-centric conference begins on June 10th with a keynote. The biggest change is Apple will move to Intel’s Haswell processors. These chips dramatically reduce power consumption, which in turn could allow Apple to need fewer batteries in the Retina MacBook Pros:

We expect the new MacBook, featuring an upgrade to Intel’s (US) Haswell processor, will be in the spotlight for Apple at the upcoming WWDC from June 10. Along with the new processor, we expect the following modifications to each product line:

Retina MacBook Pro to be slimmer slightly, along with a camera upgrade. We expect the 13” Retina MacBook Pro will have a slightly slimmer form factor for increasing its portability. Also, we think the camera spec will be upgraded from HD to full HD. This will improve Facetime and video conference quality in the high resolution Retina display.

The 1080P camera would match the capabilities of the rear-cameras in recent iOS hardware, but this would represent the first time in which Apple shipped a 1080p-capable front-facing sensor.

Screen Shot 2013-06-02 at 8.53.09 AM

If Apple does choose to keep the same batteries and size of the Retina MacBook Pro, the new Haswell chips could push battery life up over 10 hours – an outcome I’d personally prefer. Additionally, how can you make the 13″ Retina MacBook Pro any thinner?

It is so thin that the ports+ fan outlets barely fit now. It would also be an uncharacteristically short sub-1-year duration for the current design.

As for the MacBook Air, at least one improvement is expected by Kuo: Read more

Analyst claims Apple ‘iWatch’ wrist-device is over a year away, explains why watch more practical than glasses

‘iWatch’ Concept (many more here)

KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who has provided seemingly accurate information about previous Apple hardware releases (timing non-withstanding), claims that Apple’s much-rumored wearable wrist device will not arrive until late 2014. The analyst pinpoints production to begin sometime in the second half of the year:

Read more