Apple will release its new iPhone 5S smartphone in the second half of 2013, according to numerous reports.
Apple insider site, DigiTimes, spoke to multiple unnamed sources within Apple's supply chain - including some who claim to have already seen a prototype of the handset - that said Apple is planning to launch a low-cost version of its hugely popular iPhone in the second half of this year. The new low cost iPhone 5S is Apple's attempt to target China and other emerging markets, according to BGR.
According to Digitimes' report, the iPhone 5S will feature "brand new exterior design" and a larger display in response to the "prevailing trend for the adoption of 5-inch displays for high-end models." Apple is also apparently working with China Mobile to finally bring the iPhone to its network.
Topeka Capital Markets analyst Brian White reported last week that the iPhone 5S might be available in multiple screen sizes. White also thinks Apple launched the 5th generation iPod Touch in various colors as a litmus test for doing the same with its next generation iPhone.
White also believes that the iPhone 5S could be released in multiple screen sizes, with some aimed specifically at the low-end market. As the Christian Post points out, "Apple could better penetrate markets such as China and open up opportunities in India with a lower-end model."
Apple reportedly decided to target low-end markets such as China after its iPad Mini experience robust sales in the world's most populous nation. According to Digitimes, a new manufacturing initiative by mobile chipset manufacturer Qualcomm was the catalyst for Apple's move to make the new iPhone more afforadable.
"Qualcomm's recent launch of its latest family of Snapdragon chipsets, including the dual-core MSM8960 and the quad-core APQ8064, for the entry-level to mid-range smartphones may pave the way for Apple bringing out the low-cost iPhone," sources told Digitimes.
Jeffries Analyst Peter Misek agrees with the Digitimes report. Misek believes a $200-$250 iPhone 5S is likely for the second half of 2013, backing up statements he made in December purporting the handset would see release in June 2013. Like White, Misek also believes the iPhone 5S will come in a range of colors. While we always caution putting too much stock in any tech rumor, as BusinessInsider notes, when "industry insiders" predicted an iPhone 5 and missed, Misek correctly predicted the iPhone 4S.
The iPhone 5 currently sells at an unsubsidized price of $375. For cheaper iPhones, customers are forced to sign contracts with service providers like Verizon and AT&T. Customers who'd rather buy the phone contract-free should expect to pay around $650.