Final Thoughts for Big Tuesday

The tech rumor world has completely attacked the iPhone media event on Tuesday with a barrage of contradictory/confusing rumors, actual physical cases, inventory management screenshots, new hardware from Brazil, and analysis from trusted sources.

So there have been 3 distinct rumor threads all spring and summer about the iPhone lineup

1. An upgraded iPhone 4 with an A5 processor and improved camera. This has been called the iPhone 4s, alleged to have the internal codename N94.

2. The Tear Drop iPhone 5. Thinner and lighter but with a 4 inch screen.

3. A low budget/cheaper iPhone for the prepaid market. Based on the iPhone 4 but with some reduced material costs. Would retail unlocked for $300 to $350.

The flurry of activity has provided evidence for all 3 to be possibly announced on Tuesday.

The iPhone 4s is a total lock for some kind of announcement on Tuesday. There have been reports of confirmation in iTunes code, physical parts showing up in repair shops, and inventory listings of the iPhone 4S at retail stores. So MoD places the odds of an upgraded iPhone 4 called the iPhone 4S at 90%.

The iPhone 5 is a trickier creature to confirm. There have been no reports of repair parts or spare parts. Numerous analysts are indicating that they can find no signs of production of such a phone. However, there have been numerous rumors of this device. And in the last week, there’s been confirmation of literally thousands of iPhone 5 cases available throughout China along with a supporting story of a stolen prototype being the source of the dimensions of the cases. The case production at this point represents an investment of at least  $50,000 dollar perhaps more. There’s a lot of confidence behind this case production. To continue with the case evidence, there’s now evidence of iPhone 5 cases with the same design showing up at AT&T stores. There are pretty generic cases but why are they at AT&T stores? An additional rumor shows AT&T’s  inventory system showing Case-Mate iPhone 5 designs. Last rumor is from regional cell phone provider Cincinnati Bell which had a placeholder website for a pay as you go unlocked iPhone 5. The details of the web page include a 4 inch display and 4g speeds (using the HSPA+ standard) for $639.99 which sure seems like the right unlocked price for Apple’s latest and greatest iPhone. In addition, there’s a placeholder for an iPhone 4s for $99 after rebate $300, and the iPhone 4S is listed as having an A5 processor (Apple’s going to be pushing the Voice Assistant feature and indicating the processor requirements). Now it could simply be a website developer piecing together rumors, but the pricing part seems very accurate.

So that’s the pro evidence, which is certainly a smoldering fire if nothing else. Beyond the analyst claims that the phone is not in production,  as a counter you have John Gruber from Daring Fireball indicating that the design seems un-Apple like due to symmetry issues on the top and bottom of the device in terms of screen space  and issues using the device in landscape mode with it being tapered and weighted differently. In addition, the event being on Apple’s campus and not at a bigger venue indicates to Gruber that this is not a huge event. Now MoD can see Gruber’s point on the balance/symmetry of the device, but the venue appears to be more related to scheduling issues than anything else. And in MoD’s opinion, Apple won’t want Tim Cook’s first event as CEO to have any odor of “underwhelm”. MoD thinks Apple is releasing new brand new hardware along with some significant new goodies from iOS 5 (Voice Assistant demo).  The biggest evidence against the iPhone 5 is that no repair store has gotten spare parts for the new device. Our final odds on the brand new iPhone 5 are 75%.

Now to the final rumor, the cheaper iPhone 4 for prepaid plans (huge addressable market in China, India, and the rest of Asia). Now first off this rumor really only has one real source. The recent leak of iPhone 4’s being built in Brazil from Gizmodo. This iPhone has a new product name of N90A (N90 is current iPhone). Now there’s zero evidence of a price point for this iPhone or that N90A means anything different than iPhone 4 built in Brazil. However, why is Foxconn’s new Brazil factory building Apple’s previous model iPhone 4, and if China is an intended market why build it in Brazil at all? So odds of a $300 pre paid cheap iPhone 4 being released, 30%. Apple massive push into China is giving MoD second thoughts about that number, but there’s no other real evidence.

One last thing, all analysts and techbloggers are presuming that LTE is out of the question for this release. Generally speaking they use the quote from Tim Cook at Apple’s 2011 calendar  Q1 earnings conference call  as evidence. In April, Cook stated that the current chipsets forced compromises Apple was unwilling to make. MoD has long maintained that something forced a 4 month delay in launching this product. A new design makes sense, as would waiting for a new chipset that would allow Apple to incorporate CDMA/GSM and LTE into a one world phone design that can be configured for AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon. After finally landing on Verizon, Apple can ill afford to cede the LTE territory to Android and Win 7 phones until the next iPhone refresh. LTE capable device odds are low, but it would explain the device delay, so lets go with 10%.

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