Just weeks away from when Apple is expected to be unveiling the next iPhone, another Wall Street analyst has said the company could surprise us with two new handsets.
Fortune this morning posted part of a note from J.P. Morgan analyst Mark Moskowitz saying that the firm expects Apple to release two new iPhones: one that will be a brand-new model with a different appearance, and a souped-up iPhone 4 model called the "iPhone 4-plus."
"Our research indicates that there will be an iPhone 5 based on a lighter, thinner form factor that is GSM + CDMA capable, i.e., a 'world-mode' smartphone. A second device (4-plus) based on the current iPhone 4 but with some minor improvements could target the midrange and focus on China," Moskowitz wrote. "As for the current iPhone 4, we expect it to subsume 3GS as the lower-end offering."
Moskowitz also weighs in on rumors of Apple considering the release of a third-generation iPad before year's end, saying Apple's in "no rush" to replace its existing models based on lackluster competition.
"The other tablet entrants have stumbled," Moskowitz wrote. "Offerings by MMI and RIM have been the latest disappointments. Also, we had the opportunity to demo Sony's tablet before its launch. We were not impressed."
Reports earlier this year claimed Apple was gunning to release a new model of the iPad in time for the holiday shopping season. A tech blog called This Is My Next claimed in July that Apple was working on a special HD model that would be sold alongside the iPad 2. Taiwan-based news site DigiTimes followed, saying Apple was cooking up a thinner iPad model with an improved display, called the "iPad 2 Plus." Not to be outdone, the Taiwan Economic News said a new iPad model would be ready by Thanksgiving.
In August, things started looking bad for those rumors though. Two analysts told CNET that a new iPad wouldn't be ready until next year because its high-resolution display was difficult to make in the volume Apple needed. Mobile processor industry tracking firm the Linley Group also said Apple's next-generation, four-core A6 processor would not be ready until the middle of 2012, meaning a new device would have to use the same processors in the current iPad 2 model.
As for two new iPhones, this is not the first such suggestion that Apple plans do so, something that would be a first for the company. A Deutsche Bank analyst in June said that Apple was working on a similar configuration of a high-end new model, and improved iPhone 4 model for release this year. Evidence suggesting that might be the case surfaced a few days later, with a screenshot of a white plastic iPhone 4 model on Vietnamese site Tinhte--the same outlet that got ahold of the iPhone 4 ahead of its official unveiling.
More recently, there have been murmurs of two iPhone model offerings as part of deals being worked out with Chinese carriers, which are expected to carry the new iPhone when it's released. Moskowitz highlights China and its potentially massive subscriber base as one of the main reasons for offering a lower cost iPhone 4-plus model, but that he does not expect it to be exclusive to the region.
Apple is expected to release its next iPhone model in October, with a possible unveiling of the device later this month.