Supply-chain rumors are can be unreliable sources at the best of times, but never more so than when they claim to offer insight into Apple’s strategic plans. DigiTimes is claiming that Apple will be launching the 4.7- and 5.5-inch models of the iPhone 6 separately “to avoid competition between the two models.”
The different timetables have been set as Apple does not want to repeat the mistake it made in 2013 when it launched the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c simultaneously, said the sources.
Let’s take this one step at a time. First, what companies in the supply-chain know are how many orders have been placed with them for specific components. They don’t know what orders Apple may have placed with other suppliers for the same components, and they don’t even necessarily know in which product the parts will be used …
Second, even assembly companies like Foxconn, who will know how many orders Apple has placed for completed products by specific dates, don’t have any knowledge of the company’s reasoning. Apple is not in the habit of sharing its strategic thinking with suppliers.
Third, Apple’s iPhone sales numbers in no way suggest that it made a ‘mistake’ in launching the iPhone 5s and 5c simultaneously. While there is evidence to suggest that the balance of sales between the two handsets differed from Apple’s expectations, the reason appears to be that more people than predicted chose to buy the more expensive model. Hardly a mistake.
Fourth, how would launching on separate dates prevent competition anyway? If someone wants the larger model, and it’s launched a little later, they’ll simply wait.
There have indeed been rumors that yield issues with the larger screen of the 5.5-inch model iPhone 6 may result in it being launched after the 4.7-inch model. But even there, we’re hearing conflicting reports. If the two models are indeed launched on separate dates, it is extremely unlikely to be because Apple fears the two models will compete.
Image credit: Render by Mark Pelin