Only a few days ago, we were hearing a lot of rumors that Apple would be launching a larger-screened iOS phone. Being dubbed the “iPhone Plus,” the purported 5-inch screen is said to be launching later this year. If this supposed larger screen device really is on its way, it won’t make it to our sweaty hands until the middle of next year. At least, that is what Jeffries analyst Peter Misek is saying.
According to a report from MacRumors, Misek does not see the device launching until mid-2014. Even though others in the tech world are reporting that Apple may release an iPhone 5S and a low-cost model phone in mid 2013 with the supposed iPhone Plus launching late this year, Misek argues that problems with display yield, as well as other changes for the iPhone 6, (as he is calling it) will make a 2013 launch doubtful.
Misek reports three possible issues for the iPhone that could contribute to lower yields and a delayed launch of the larger screened device.
- App processor production at 20nm. Apple’s current iPhone app processor is on 32nm. For the iPhone 6 we think Apple will likely skip over 28nm and go to 20nm to facilitate adding more cores (4 or even 8). While TSMC is targeting a 2014 ramp in its 20nm production we think that issues like double patterning could make it a more complicated transition than the 28nm ramp, which had its own substantial ramp and yield issues.
- Display shifting from in-cell LCD to on-cell OLED or IGZO. We think in- cell is having difficulty ramping to 4.8”, which is making Apple look at switching to on-cell (a different integrated touchscreen technology) and OLED (despite Apple’s suppliers being well behind Samsung in their OLED capabilities) or IGZO.
- Revamped OS. We think Apple plans to re-architect iOS to utilize more cores and better compete with Samsung. Also, we believe the way iOS interoperates with iCloud, gestures controls, and advertising will be substantially upgraded.
Whether Apple even has a larger-screened iPhone in the works is yet to be seen. For my money, I’ll bet Apple won’t be going bigger than a 4-inch screen anytime soon. However, I never thought the tech company would release a smaller screened iPad, and I had to eat my hat on that one. So, you never know.